Asthma and obesity: does weight loss improve asthma control? a systematic review

J Asthma Allergy. 2012;5:21-6. doi: 10.2147/JAA.S32232. Epub 2012 Jun 7.

Abstract

Aim and methods: Obesity is a major health problem, and obesity is associated with a high incidence of asthma and poor asthma control. The aim of the present paper is to systematically review the current knowledge of the effect on overall asthma control of weight reduction in overweight and obese adults with asthma.

Results: Weight loss in obese individuals with doctor-diagnosed asthma is associated with a 48%-100% remission of asthma symptoms and use of asthma medication. Published studies, furthermore, reveal that weight loss in obese asthmatics improves asthma control, and that especially surgically induced weight loss results in significant improvements in asthma severity, use of asthma medication, dyspnoea, exercise tolerance, and acute exacerbations, including hospitalizations due to asthma. Furthermore, weight loss in obese asthmatics is associated with improvements in level of lung function and airway responsiveness to inhaled methacholine, whereas no significant improvements have been observed in exhaled nitric oxide or other markers of eosinophilic airway inflammation.

Conclusion: Overweight and obese adults with asthma experience a high symptomatic remission rate and significant improvements in asthma control, including objective measures of disease activity, after weight loss. Although these positive effects of weight loss on asthma-related health outcomes seem not to be accompanied by remission or improvements in markers of eosinophilic airway inflammation, it has potentially important implications for the future burden of asthma.

Keywords: asthma; asthma control; bariatric surgery; diet; weight loss.