There is no denying that childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control, roughly 19% of all American children between the ages of 2 and 19 years of age are considered medically obese. These rates are even higher in low-income communities and inner-city neighborhoods where regular access to affordable nutrition is unpredictable. Unfortunately, high levels of obesity across our society come with an array of health consequences, including heightened chances of developing asthma and an increased risk of severe asthmatic attacks. Unfortunately, this points to a potential link between childhood obesity and asthma.
How Does Obesity Affect Asthma?
There is no one clear link between obesity and asthma. But repeated scientific studies have found a replicable correlation over and over again. Some theorize that it is related to the body’s inflammatory response to increased pressure. This system primes the lungs for “exaggerated responses to environmental triggers.” Other specialists suggest that obesity may reduce lung volumes, leading to partial obstruction and symptoms that mimic asthma. However, it could be any number of factors. This even includes the fact that the same communities with the highest levels of obesity also tend to live in neighborhoods with the highest levels of air pollution.
Regardless the correlation between childhood obesity and asthma occurs, we know one important fact. Overweight children with asthma are prone to more severe attacks with higher rates of hospitalization. Therefore, if you are raising an asthmatic child who struggles to maintain a healthy weight, you have to be careful to ensure that their asthma is well-controlled. Take the first steps towards ensuring your child grows up happy and healthy. You will need to schedule an appointment with your local pediatric asthma doctor.
Planning for the Future
During your initial consultation, Dr. Mayank Shukla will use his experience as a pediatric pulmonologist to evaluate your child’s airways and gauge the severity of their asthma based on past medical history and existing symptoms. Using this information, Dr. Shukla can help you to create a comprehensive treatment plan that will control your child’s asthma long-term with options for dealing with an attack.
For many young patients, asthma treatment comes in two forms: an anti-inflammatory asthma drug and a nebulizer. The anti-inflammatory works to reduce swelling in the airways. This makes it easier for your child to breathe daily, while the nebulizer best suits immediate relief. It is essentially an inhaler that delivers medication in the form of a mist through a make or mouthpiece. They are usually reserved for children and the elderly, who may struggle to use a traditional inhaler effectively. Therefore, your child will most likely begin using an inhaler in place of a nebulizer. But only once your pediatric pulmonologist is confident that they can master the delivery method.
Tackling Childhood Obesity
During the early stages of asthma treatment Manhattan, it is important that you also try to bring your child’s weight back into a healthy space. You have to be careful though. Putting too much emphasis on the numerical value of weight or being consistently negative could be equally harmful. Avoid first putting your child on a strict diet and weighing them regularly. Instead, try slowly reducing portion sizes and gradually swapping their least healthy habits for better ones. You can talk to your pediatrician for other suggestions on how to improve your child’s relationship with food and their body.
Once your child’s asthma is under control, and their asthma doctor in Manhattan says they’re ready, slowly introduce more physical activities into your child’s life. This means you’re going to have to be more active too, and they may resist at first. Your best bet is to choose something fun that gives you time together as a family. If their journey to a healthier weight is slow, that’s ok. The important thing is that your child is healthy and knows they’re loved. In the meantime, Dr. Shukla can keep their asthma under control, giving them space to be children.