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Obese People May Have Specific Phenotype of Asthma

Obese asthma patients have poorer symptom control compared with non-obese asthma patients

THURSDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Asthma control among obese patients is poorer than that among non-obese patients, and the inflammatory characteristics and pattern of pulmonary function changes imply that there may be a different phenotype for asthma among obese patients, according to research published in the August issue of Chest.

Andrea Lessard, of Hopital Laval in Quebec, Canada, and colleagues conducted a study of 88 asthma patients, of whom 44 were obese, with a body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or above and 44 were non-obese, with a body mass index of less than 25 kg/m2. All the patients underwent methacholine challenge as well as measurement of waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio, provided sputum samples for differential cell count and completed an asthma control questionnaire.

Although both groups had similar perception of their symptoms, and had similar expiratory flows, bronchodilator response and airway responsiveness to methacholine, obese subjects had poorer asthma control than the non-obese subjects, the researchers report. Blood serum levels of C-reactive protein and fibrinogen were higher in obese subjects versus their non-obese counterparts, and there was an inverse correlation between sputum eosinophils and waist circumference, the report indicates.

"Overall, our results suggest a different phenotype of asthma in obese individuals," the authors write. "In addition, our study points to the need for studies of the cause of poorer asthma control in asthma subjects."

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