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Extra Weight Adds to Asthma's Toll

Study: Gaining 5 Pounds Can Worsen Asthma Symptoms, Quality of Life
By Patricia Kirk
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Nov. 13, 2007 -- Just 5 pounds of weight gain could make a difference for asthma patients trying to keep their condition under control.

A new study of adult asthma patients shows that those who gained 5 pounds over 12 months reported poorer asthma control, worse quality of life, and greater use of steroid medication than patients who maintained their weight or lost 5 pounds or more during the same period.

"Our findings are consistent with reports that increases in BMI are associated with decreased asthma control and asthma-related qualify-of-life issues," says Tmirah Haselkorn, PhD, an epidemiology researcher at the San Francisco-based pharmaceutical firm of Genentech Inc.

BMI, or body mass index, is a tool for measuring overweight and obesity.

The study analyzed the relationship between weight and asthma control in 2,396 adult patients who participated in The Epidemiology and Natural History of Asthma: Outcomes and Treatment Regimens (TENOR) study. TENOR is a three-year, nationwide observational study of 4,700 people with severe or difficult-to-treat asthma.

Haselkorn notes that after taking into account other asthma control factors, including BMI, demographics, asthma duration and severity, and oral steroid use, patients who gained weight during the first year of the study were significantly more likely to have poor asthma control than patients who maintained a stable weight.

Haselkorn says it's likely that the weight gain affected the asthma symptoms, rather than the other way around. He suggests that specialists come up with treatment programs that include weight management.

The study was presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting in Dallas.

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