A study recently published in the journal Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology (AACI) revealed that central obesity negatively influences asthma control in women. The study is entitled “Central obesity and other factors associated with uncontrolled asthma in women” and was conducted by researchers at the Gaffrée and Guinle University Hospital of the Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro and the National Institute of Women, Children and Adolescents Health Fernandes Figueira (IFF) in Brazil.
Asthma is a chronic, inflammatory, respiratory disease that is still uncontrolled in a considerably high number of patients. Comorbidities like obesity have been reported to negatively influence asthma control, and the harmful effects of these comorbidities were found to be greatest among women. The goal of this study was to determine factors associated with uncontrolled asthma in women.
The research team performed a cross-sectional study on 124 women who had been diagnosed persistent asthma between November 2013 and July 2014 at the University Hospital Gaffrée and Guinle in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Data on disease history, comorbid conditions, education level and demographic variables was collected through a questionnaire. Anthropometric and spirometric (breath) measurements were performed, and asthma control was evaluated by the Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ), the Asthma Control Test (ACT) and the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) criteria.
Researchers found that of the 124 asthmatic women, 57% had their disease totally controlled according to the ACT criteria, 38% had asthma controlled according to ACQ criteria and only 21% had the disease controlled according to the GINA criteria. 84% of the women assessed were considered centrally obese according to the conicity index and 68% according to waist circumference measurement. No association was found between asthma control and variables like age, body mass index (BMI), education or duration of the disease. Using the GINA and ACQ criteria tools, however, a significant negative association was found between central obesity and asthma control. Forced vital capacity (FVC, the amount of air that can be forcibly exhaled from the lungs after a deep breath) was also found to be significantly associated with central obesity and age.
The research team concluded that central obesity in women, and not excess body fat, has a negative influence on asthma being linked to a poorly controlled and more severe disease.