Obesity is associated with a heightened risk of asthma, but the mechanism causing this link has yet to be determined, with most previous research pointing to the direct pressure of increased weight on the lungs.
A new study, recently published in the European Respiratory Journal, has given the first indication that another mechanism may be at least partly responsible.
Through studying the structure of 1,373 lung airways with special dyes, the research team found fatty tissue built up in airway walls. The amount of fat accumulated corresponded to the donor’s BMI.
The researchers have theorised that this buildup increases inflammation in the lungs, causing a thickening of the airways and limiting the flow of air, which increases asthma symptoms.
The researchers now hope to confirm this theory in future research, as well as finding out whether weight loss will reverse the impact of obesity on respiratory health.
Based on the researcher’s discovery, President of the European Respiratory Society Prof Thierry Troosters commented that healthcare professionals should support asthma patients to achieve or maintain a healthy weight even while the findings are being investigated.
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Source: Medical News Today