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Obesity and asthma: current knowledge and future needs

Sivapalan, Pradeesha; Diamant, Zuzanab,c; Ulrik, Charlotte Supplia,d

Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine: January 2015 - Volume 21 - Issue 1 - p 80–85
doi: 10.1097/MCP.0000000000000119
ASTHMA: Edited by Nicola A. Hanania and Zuzana Diamant

Purpose of review Obesity has significant impact on asthma incidence and manifestations. The purpose of the review is to discuss recent observations regarding the association between obesity and asthma focusing on underlying mechanisms, clinical presentation, response to therapy and effect of weight reduction.

Recent findings Clinical and epidemiological studies indicate that obese patients with asthma may represent a unique phenotype, which is more difficult to control, less responsive to asthma medications and by that may have higher healthcare utilization. A number of common comorbidities have been linked to both obesity and asthma, and may, therefore, contribute to the obese–asthma phenotype. Furthermore, recently published studies indicate that even a modest weight reduction can improve clinical manifestations and outcome of asthma.

Summary Compared with normal-weight patients, obese and overweight patients with asthma have poorer asthma control and respond less to corticosteroid therapy. Future studies focusing on the mechanism underlying both obesity and asthma including the obese–asthma phenotype are required to better characterize the link between the conditions and target the management of this patient group.

aDepartment of Pulmonary Medicine, Hvidovre Hospital, Hvidovre, Denmark

bDepartment of Respiratory Medicine and Allergology, Skåne University Hospital, Sweden

cDepartment of General Practice & QPS-NL, Groningen, the Netherlands

dUniversity of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Correspondence to Professor Charlotte Suppli Ulrik, MD, DMSc, Department of Pulmonary Medicine 253, Hvidovre Hospital, DK-2650 Hvidovre, Denmark. e-mail:

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