How Asthma Can Affect Weight Loss

How Asthma Can Affect Weight Loss

Asthma is a common disease that affects the airways. It is a chronic condition where the airways are inflamed. Asthma sufferers have a variety of recurring symptoms including, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and tightness in the chest. Asthma sufferers often experience weight gain due to overeating and avoiding exercise. Some asthma medications can also increase appetite, making it harder for asthmatics to maintain or lose weight.

Weight Gain and Asthma

Asthmatics tend to be overweight because of a reluctance to exercise. This can start at a young age when asthmatic children refrain from physical activity due to shortness of breath. Parents shy away from encouraging exercise in their asthmatic children to keep them from experiencing asthma attacks. The lack of physical activity leads to a long-term lifestyle of sedentary living that can pack on the pounds.

In addition, some oral steroids, such as prednisone, taken by asthmatic children and adults can increase the appetite. Prednisone is known to increase appetite as well as slow down metabolism and increase fluid retention. Also, studies have found that increased weight can make asthma symptoms worse. As an asthma sufferer increases in weight, her odds of having poorly controlled asthma also increase.

Asthma and Weight Loss

Weight loss for asthmatics is much the same as the general population. It can be achieved by decreasing calories, increasing exercise and maintaining a healthy diet that is rich in a variety of nutrients. But the symptoms of asthma may keep asthmatics from incorporating these important habits into their daily lives. For many asthma sufferers, the fear of causing an asthma attack by participating in physical activity is enough to keep them from integrating exercise into their routine.

Diet & Exercise with Asthma

Most asthma sufferers can incorporate the same healthy diet and exercise habits as the rest of the population, but many may have difficulty with these changes due to the severity of their symptoms. If you are an asthma sufferer, here are some simple changes that can get you on the path to weight loss:

  • Make sure to take a multivitamin including calcium: Oral steroid usage can lead to bone loss and decrease absorption of calcium.
  • Participate in activities when you have the most energy: Plan exercise during the time of day that you are most energized.
  • Choose your physical activities wisely: Participate in activities that only require short periods of exertion, like volleyball, baseball, or gymnastics. Swimming can also be a good exercise because of the warm, moist air environment.
  • Use pre-exercise asthma inhalers: These inhalers can help with your symptoms and prepare you for the change in breathing.
  • Be careful of allergens: Try to stay away from exercising outdoors or near your particular allergens.
  • Be prepared for a possible asthma attack: If you have an attack, use your inhaler and take a break. If your symptoms subside, you can jump back in, but if you experience these symptoms again, stop exercising. Use your inhaler and talk to your doctor to make a plan and seek treatment.