Bariatric Surgery Improves Asthma
Asthma afflicts over 23 million Americans today and has many risk factors. It can be an extremely debilitating and terrifying disease. There is good news for patients with asthma and obesity as a study has shown that bariatric surgery improves the function of the small airways in our lungs and can decrease the inflammation that leads to better asthma control. This benefit is on top of the many other health benefits of weight loss surgery. Obesity can more than double the risk of developing asthma and make its control significantly more difficult. An obese person has inherent lung problems because as we get heavier, the larger abdomen does not allow the diaphragm to function normally and does not allow the lungs to fully expand. This is called hypoventilation syndrome. This is the reason obese individuals are more comfortable when they do not lay flat. Asthma is exacerbated in morbidly obese individuals because of this syndrome. When patients lose weight with bariatric surgery, the small airways function better with less restriction. Weight loss in turn causes a significant improvement in their asthma control. The asthma may be more due to obesity than by airway inflammation. The article concludes that a mainstay for obese individuals with asthma should be bariatric surgery.