Anyone who is out of shape and overweight will more easily become breathless when doing physical activity. New research that has been published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology has shown that obese and overweight children who have been diagnosed with asthma may have an unnecessarily high use of asthma medication. Simply put, many of these children don’t know how to tell the difference between an asthma attack and simply being out of breath.
The study included the participation of 58 children, who were split into two groups: obese and overweight children with a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than or equal to the 85th percentile and leaner children with a BMI between the 20th and 65th percentile. The researchers studied the children’s lung function, patterns of symptoms, use of treatment, use of healthcare, their quality of life, and the perceptions of the children’s caregivers with regards to asthma-related quality of life.
What Researchers Found
Researchers found that both the overweight and leaner children had similar lung function and responded in the same way to controller therapy. However, the overweight and obese children tended to report their symptoms differently, when compared to the leaner children. Obese children were more likely to report symptoms of shortness of breath, whereas their leaner counterparts would report symptoms of a cough. Obese children also reported using their medication three times more often than the leaner children participating in the study, particularly their short-acting Beta-agonist (SABA) medications, such as Albuterol, Ipratropium, Levalbuterol, and Tiotropium Bromide. These children reported a lower quality of life overall and more gastrointestinal symptoms.
What You Can Do
Certainly, SABA medications are necessary for overweight asthmatic children, but these children need to be taught how to tell the difference between being breathless due to physical activity and a true asthma attack. When a person is having an asthma attack, there is inflammation in the walls of the airway that makes it difficult for air to pass through. Breathing becomes very difficult. When it comes to being out of breath, breathing is not hindered. Instead, a person is just takes deep, rapid breaths to get more air in their lungs, often due to a high level physical activity.
Talk to your doctor if you child is overweight, has asthma, and seems to be going through his or her medication too quickly. Your doctor can work with you and your child to help you both understand when an asthma attack is really happening, as opposed to being out of breath, and can help your child with a weight loss plan as part of a healthy lifestyle.
In the end, you will still need to ensure your child has the appropriate asthma medication and it is important to save as much money as possible on your prescription drugs. To save between 50%-90% on the cost of all your prescription medications, please visit eDrugSearch.com, where we have been working with a group of trusted licensed pharmacies in Canada for over seven years now. You can also join our free Asthma support group to network, collaborate, learn more about asthma and seek or offer support to other members.