Public Release:  Study finds weight loss in obese adults can reduce severity of asthma

Behavioral weight loss program associated with improvements in airway hyperresponsiveness and quality of life

American College of Chest Physicians

Glenview, Ill. (June 8, 2015)-- A Canadian study published in the June issue of the journal CHEST found weight loss reduced asthma severity as measured by airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) in obese adults. The incidence of asthma is 1.47 times higher in obese people than nonobese people, and a three-unit increase in body mass index is associated with a 35% increase in the risk of asthma. The study supports the active treatment of comorbid obesity in individuals with asthma.

The study, the first of its kind to rely on appropriate physiologic tests as diagnostic criteria for asthma, found normalization or improvements in AHR, asthma control, and quality of life.

"While previous studies have examined the relationship between asthma severity and obesity, this study is unique because of its strict adherence to an accurate diagnostic criteria and study outcome (AHR), resulting in purer results to support weight loss as a strategy to normalize or reverse asthma in this group of people hit very hard by the condition," said Smita Pakhale, MD, Department of Medicine, The Ottawa Hospital and University of Ottawa. "We were pleased to see significant improvement in asthma symptoms, as well as quality of life for these individuals. This study further supports the need to manage comorbidities to improve patient lives."

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The entire study, Effects of Weight Loss on Airway Responsiveness in Obese Adults With Asthma: Does Weight Loss Lead to Reversibility of Asthma?, can be viewed in the June issue of CHEST.

Funding for this study was provided by the Department of Medicine, The Ottawa Hospital, and the Ontario Thoracic Society.

American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), publisher of the journal CHEST, is the global leader in advancing best patient outcomes through innovative chest medicine education, clinical research, and team-based care. Its mission is to champion the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of chest diseases through education, communication, and research. It serves as an essential connection to clinical knowledge and resources for its 18,700 members from around the world who provide patient care in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine. For more information about CHEST, visit chestnet.org.

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