Obesity and asthma are two growing problems among children. More and more children are experiencing more attacks or new asthma symptoms as a result of weight gain. There is increasing interest regarding the cause-and-effect relationship that seems to exist between weight and asthma. Studies have now shown that there is a link between excess weight and worsened asthma in children.
Childhood Asthma and Weight
Asthma is now one of the most common diseases in children. It affects one out of every 10 kids in America. Children who are overweight tend to be diagnosed with asthma more frequently. But the question is, which came first, the asthma or the weight gain? Are overweight children, especially obese children, at a higher risk for developing or aggravating asthmatic symptoms?
A Proven Link Between Weight Gain and Asthma
A 2014 study published in the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) showed that a complex and multi-faceted link between extra weight and asthma exists. The study showed that children with a quickly increasing BMI in the first two years of life were more likely to develop asthma. The children remained at a higher risk of developing asthma up to age 6. A relationship between lung function and the onset of obesity was also shown to exist.
Another study conducted in Australia and the U.K. heralded similar results. The study looked at 5,000 children and found that the risk for developing asthma increased 55% with each increase in BMI units. Researchers now believe that it is the weight gain that precedes the asthma. Children who are overweight have narrower airways, making them more prone to asthma.
What Excess Weight Means for Your Asthmatic Child
Research confirms the link between asthma and weight, but what are the everyday consequences for your asthmatic child? Children with asthma who are overweight experience worse symptoms than children with asthma who are at a normal weight. Overweight and obese children often require more doctor visits and drug therapy for their asthma. This is because they tend to have bad asthma attacks more frequently. Because of the inflammation caused by extra weight on the chest, overweight and obese children will feel shortness of breath or wheezing much worse compared to other normal weight children.
What to Do About Weight Gain and Asthma
If your child has asthma and a higher BMI, you should make sure that their medication regimen is sufficient to keep their symptoms at bay. A child who has difficulty breathing may not want to play and exercise, which will only make the problem worse. Encourage your child to make better life choices, such as exercising daily and making healthy food choices. Achieving and maintaining a lower BMI can help keep your child’s asthma symptoms from escalating.
Get In Touch with An Asthma Doctor
Working with a pediatric asthma specialist is important for your asthmatic child. If you are concerned about your child’s asthma and weight, allow an experienced pediatric pulmonologist like Dr. Mayank Shukla help you. Dr. Shukla is very experienced in treating childhood asthma and ensuring that children with asthma can enjoy life with improved symptoms, fewer missed school days, and infrequent asthma attacks, regardless of weight.
Schedule an appointment by calling his main office line at (212) 661-7077.