Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Asthma Health Center

Font Size

Is Asthma Changing Your Appetite or Weight?

Poorly controlled asthma can affect your weight.

Asthma May Also Cause Poor Appetite continued...

Some patients with uncontrolled and under-treated asthma are so breathless that they have a hard time eating their meals. “The best thing to do for that is small, frequent meals,” Gleeksman says. “If it just takes that much energy to eat -- and for some people, it really does -- the best thing they can do is to eat smaller amounts throughout the day.”

Asthma can also leave some people too fatigued to cook, Gleeksman says. “They know the energy that it’s going to take them, not only to eat, but to prepare food. It almost ends up being a negative feedback mechanism, where they know how exhausted they’re going to be from thinking about getting out, preparing, cooking and then eating food. They don’t want to do it at all.”

Although long-term oral steroids can cause increased appetite and weight gain, asthma drugs can also cause stomach upset or mouth lesions, making eating more difficult. For example, higher doses of inhaled steroid doses to control asthma can cause fungal thrush infections in the mouth. But using a spacer or holding chamber with the inhaler can lessen the amount of medicine deposited in the mouth or throat, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Rinsing the mouth with water after each inhaler use also helps to prevent thrush.

Living With Asthma: Tips for Better Nutrition

For people who have poor appetite from asthma symptoms or medications, Gleeksman and the National Jewish Health web site offer several tips:

  • Take a multivitamin and calcium supplement daily. “If somebody is not eating properly or has that decreased appetite,” Gleeksman says, supplementing with a multivitamin can provide nutrients. She also recommends a calcium supplement, especially for people on long-term, high doses of oral steroids, because those drugs can decrease calcium absorption and lead to bone loss.
  • Breathe evenly while you are chewing and eating. Try to relax during meals and stop eating if you need to catch your breath.
  • Double or triple your favorite recipes and freeze the extra portions. Turn to these homemade frozen entrees when you don’t feel like cooking.
  • Use prepared foods to save time and energy in the kitchen. Frozen meals, prepared foods or take-out meals can make your life easier. But don’t overdo it. The sugar, salt or fat in these foods may be higher than in homemade meals.
  • For tasks that require the most effort, do them when you have the most energy. Grocery shopping can be tiring if you have asthma, so do it when you feel the freshest, for example, in the morning or after a rest. Or enlist a friend or family member to buy your groceries.
  • Don't stand in the kitchen when you can sit. Keep a barstool by the kitchen counter, or do your chopping, cutting and mixing at the kitchen table.

1 | 2
Reviewed on June 22, 2009

When Is Your Asthma Worse?

When Is Your Asthma Worse?

Take the WebMD Asthma assessment to get Personalized Action Plan

Start Now

Today on WebMD

Lung and bronchial tube graphic
5 common triggers.
group jogging in park
Should you avoid fitness activities?
asthma inhaler
Learn about your options.
man feeling faint
What’s the difference?
Madison Wisconsin Capitol
woman wearing cpap mask
red wine pouring into glass
Woman holding inhaler
Man outdoors coughing
Lung and bronchial tube graphic
10 Worst Asthma Cities