Asthmatics are usually overweight because of their inability to indulge in exercise or physical labour. Putting on extra weight starts at a young age when asthmatic children are restrained from doing physical activity due to fear of breathlessness. Fear of occurrence of asthma attack compels one to follow a sedentary lifestyle. Therefore, the lack of physical activity tends to add extra kilos. Moreover, some asthma medications such as oral steroids (prednisone) taken by asthmatics of all ages increase the appetite thus, asthmatics gorge on excess food increasing their weight. In addition to increasing the appetite, asthma medications also slow down metabolism and increase fluid retention. Weight gain in asthmatics is a matter of great concern as it worsens asthma symptoms. With an increase in weight, the chances of an asthmatic to have poorly controlled asthma also increases.
Excess weight gain can lead to obesity that directly affects the lungs and narrows the airway passages. An asthmatic with excess weight around his/her chest and abdomen tends to experience more asthma related complications. The extra packs on the middle part of the body are a potent danger for lungs because they put pressure on lungs making breathing difficult.
The other reason for severe asthma in obese people is that they breathe at greater rates, but in less amounts than people, who are not obese. Inhaling less air causes asthma attack when an obese person is in a less ventilated space or there is shortage of air to breathe. Children, who become obese at a very young age, have lungs that are poorly developed or smaller in size. This affects the functions of the lungs making breathing difficult and subsequently resulting in asthma.
[Read: Coping with Asthma in Winter]
Weight gain during pregnancy is normal and experienced by all women. If, however, a woman is asthmatic, she needs to watch her weight gain during pregnancy. To prevent asthma complications, a pregnant woman must consult her doctor to know the recommended weight for pregnancy. Recommended weight varies for every pregnant woman and therefore, it is advisable to know safe weight gain during pregnancy. Uncontrolled asthma and weight gain during pregnancy increases the risk of gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, miscarriage and hypertension.
Weight management is essential if an asthmatic wants to keep asthma attack at bay. Shedding a few kilos is beneficial for asthmatics. A diet incorporating foods that are beneficial for preventing asthma symptoms can be of great help.
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