Can weight loss help control asthma in patients who are obese?

Can weight loss help control asthma in patients who are obese?

Stenius-Aarniala B, Poussa T, Kvarnstrom J, et al, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland, and other centers. Immediate and long term effects of weight reduction in obese people with asthma: randomised controlled study. BMJ. March 25, 2000;320:827-832.

Here is another item to add to the already extensive list of benefits of weight loss: in obese patients who have asthma, weight loss can result in improved lung function and decreased symptoms.

Stenius-Aarniala and colleagues randomized 19 obese patients who had asthma to a 14-week supervised weight-reduction program that included 12 group sessions and 8 weeks on a very low-energy diet. A control group consisted of 19 similar patients. At 14 weeks, the treatment group had lost an average of 14.5% of their pretreatment weight. After 1 year, the reduction was 11.3%, compared with a mean weight gain of 2.2% for the controls.

At 8 weeks, the treatment group had a 7.2% greater increase in forced expiratory volume in 1 second ([FEV.sub.1]) and an 8.6% greater increase in forced vital capacity (FVC), compared with the control group. At 1 year, the corresponding difference was 7.6% for both [FEV.sub.1] and FVC. However, the difference in peak expiratory flow rate was not statistically significant. Other benefits of the weight-reduction program included reductions in dyspnea and in the use of rescue medication as well as improved health status, as assessed by the St George’s respiratory questionnaire.

The authors note that obesity may exacerbate the early airway closure during expiration that occurs in persons with airway obstruction. Weight loss may improve [FEV.sub.1] and FVC by attenuating this early airway closure.

COPYRIGHT 2000 Cliggott Publishing Co.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group