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Pollution Makes Asthma Worse For Obese Adults

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Pollution, asthma and obesity just don't mix, new research suggests. In a report published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, scientists say that poor air quality worsens asthma in obese older Americans.

Tolly Epstein from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and colleagues undertook a study which examined the effects of exposure to pollutants would have on asthma control in older adults. To find the answer, they studied 104 asthmatic adults age 65 years and older whom were administered skin prick testing, pulmonary functioning test, and an Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ).

The results of the study showed that poor air quality aggravates asthmatic symptoms. Epstein's team learned that high levels of traffic pollution in particular, greatly increased asthma symptoms. Not surprisingly, obese asthmatics seemed to suffer the most, as revealed by participants' responses to the ACQ.

Epstein's team concluded that traffic exhaust fumes is very problematic for older obese patients with asthma.

The University of Cincinnati study isn't the only one to show a relationship between obesity and asthma. A study published in the 2006 issue of Chest journal involving 86,144 participants, showed that high BMI had a significant impact on asthmatics.

Considering the link between asthma, obesity and inflammation, one plausible asthma control method would be weight loss. But asthma can affect normal weight people, too. A government report includes environmental pollutants in its list of asthma triggers. Therefore it stands to reason that regardless of an asthmatics body weight, steps to minimize exposure to exhaust fumes would reduce the chances of triggering an asthma attack.


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Article Sources 

Epstein TG, Ryan PH, Lemasters GK, Bernstein CK, Levin LS, Bernstein JA, Villareal MS, & Bernstein DI (2012). Poor asthma control and exposure to traffic pollutants and obesity in older adults. Annals of allergy, asthma & immunology : official publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, 108 (6), 423-42800 PMID: 22626595 

Chen, Y. (2006). The Association Between Obesity and Asthma Is Stronger in Nonallergic Than Allergic Adults Chest, 130 (3), 890-895 DOI: 10.1378/chest.130.3.890

CDC: Asthma Cases Increasing Year By Year - Steps You Can Take To Prevent Asthma Attack


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