The human body remains susceptible to diseases and common infections. Many diseases take root in your body, and many diseases occur in your body genetically. Starting from children to adults, every human suffers from the disease at one point in time or the other.
How Does Obesity Affect In Children?
When it comes to children, a greater section of the young population is very vulnerable to diseases and infection. Moreover, the current lifestyle that we have also affects the children around us.
Children are also facing the pressures of a busy, modern life that exposes them to a lot of different diseases.
Some of the major diseases that modern children suffer from are asthma and obesity. Obesity may look like a simple body state of being fat, but obesity is one of the most serious ailments to plague the present population.
Obesity is harmful because it has many widespread effects that lead to more complicated diseases. Obesity can be the cause behind a lot of serious diseases and create an overall unhealthy life for you. Obesity is regarded as an ongoing epidemic for the world because people from all age groups suffer from the condition today. In fact, obesity, including childhood obesity, has been on the rise in recent times.
On the other hand, the incidence of asthma is also very high in today’s children. According to WHO data, asthma is the most common chronic disease among children, and the incidence of asthma is increasing in children.
While there may be genetic factors behind triggering asthma in children, there may be other reasons too. It is highly possible that a section of the child population has a genetic mutation that makes them more susceptible to asthmatic development.
However, the presence of high pollution levels around us, lack of proper diet and exercise and childhood obesity is a major contributor in the development of asthma in kids. In this article, we will discuss the connection between obesity and asthma in order to understand the factors that lead to the development of asthma in an obese child and how to prevent and cure it.
How does obesity affect breathing?
Obesity impacts different functional systems in the body and affects the respiratory system to a huge extent too. According to doctors, obesity has a link with respiratory function and causes problems in breathing for the patient.
The condition of having problems in breathing because of an obese body is termed OHS or Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome. The Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome results in obese people having poor breathing patterns, which leads to a lack of oxygen in an obese person’s blood.
The condition of OHS instead increases the carbon dioxide levels in the blood. Why OHS happens is not yet fully clear, but research suggests that obesity and fat deposition often lead to the loss of neural control over breathing patterns which causes a drop in oxygen. Moreover, the deposition of fat in the chest wall stops people from breathing properly, at it becomes increasingly difficult to draw in a breath against the diaphragm.
Moreover, obesity increases the cholesterol level of the blood and reduces the oxygen capacity of the blood. This causes labored breathing patterns in a child. In a way, obesity propagates the cycle of inactivity and poor health that affects respiratory functions gravely.
The loss of proper breathing function not only leads to the restriction of airways and inflammation but also causes a lot of different symptoms that cause health problems for the person in question. Obesity and shortness of breath also result in poor sleep quality as breathing patterns are not normal. Fatigue and headache also arise from OHS and breathing difficulty.
If a child already has vulnerability towards asthma, then obesity will only push the child towards severe asthma. There are pieces of evidence that suggest obesity leads to the worsening of asthma symptoms in children. Obesity is therefore listed as a major risk factor for asthma and other breathing problems.
Difficulty in breathing among obese children only creates a hurdle against the proper development and activity of the child. Children who are obese lack control over their asthmatic condition. Thus, if a child is already asthmatic, obesity can only lead to the deterioration of his condition.
Causes & Consequences of an obese child with asthma
There are various medical studies that show that obesity and asthma in children are highly linked and can result from each other. Since obesity is a trigger for a slew of health problems, asthma can well be a consequence of it too. The prevalence of asthma has increased exponentially in the present population of children, and obesity is to blame.
According to studies, obesity not only triggers severe symptoms of asthma in children but also makes it difficult for doctors to treat the symptoms of asthma. For example, obese children suffer more serious symptoms of asthma that lead to a fivefold increase in the risk of hospitalization. Obese asthmatic children are less responsive to asthma therapy and procedures, which increases their vulnerability to serious harm because of asthma.
Obese children have a risk of developing more severe inflammations of the airways due to weak lungs and breathing capacity. The increased level of inflammation surely leads to early triggering of asthma and worsening of asthma symptoms. In obese asthmatic children, the quality of life is already very low, where they lack a proper level of nourishment and activity. All these factors lead to the onset of more severe symptoms of asthma.
Airway wall thickening and inflammation is a major cause of asthma development in kids. In obese children, the risk of airway wall thickening due to the deposition of fat causes an early triggering of asthmatic symptoms. Increased thickness of cell basement membrane and the susceptibility of cells to inflammation in an obese condition is a major cause of asthma in children.
Obesity leads to the development of early-onset Asthma and late-onset Asthma, both cases leading to a higher incidence of asthma in children. Moreover, adipose tissues or fat deposits in cells may release a type of cytokine that leads to the constriction of airways and damages respiratory tissues. This is a cause of asthma in obese children too. The role of adiponectin and leptin in triggering allergic asthma is also a considerable effect caused by obesity.
Obesity affects blood volume and lung volume negatively, which causes a deterioration of breathing and causes asthma. As a consequence of asthma, children experience more wheezing and coughing in day-to-day life.
The occurrence of asthma also causes a lot of other symptoms, which include shortness of breath, tiredness, and chest congestion. It is common for an asthmatic child to complain of congestion from time to time. Sometimes, the child may just experience cough or wheezing.
The symptom may be mistaken or neglected, which can lead to a worsening of asthma in children. Thus, it is vital to develop a healthy lifestyle for your child that keeps obesity and asthma at bay. Moreover, even if the child is asthmatic, close monitoring of his symptoms and proper treatment is necessary.
What Are the Best Method to Manage?
Before treatment of asthma, it is necessary to prevent and manage asthma triggers in children. The same thing goes for obesity in children too. The first thing that you can do to prevent obesity in children is to ensure a balanced diet and good activity levels, so that fat deposition does not occur in the child’s body. Even in obese children, the intake of proper diet and exercise can reduce fat and improve breathing too.
For the management of asthma too, the parents need to create an action plan. While medications are subjective to the kids’ response to them, parents can make lifestyle changes around the kids for better management of asthma. A challenge to asthma management is to get a proper diagnosis.
While asthma tests can be run on a child older than 5, the diagnosis of asthma in younger kids is based on observation of symptoms. The best approach to managing asthma in young kids is to figure out the frequency of asthma attacks and their triggers and focus on reducing these triggers. The doctor has to complement this with effective short-acting drugs that do not have any side effects for the child but work properly. Another step to managing both asthma and obesity is to maintain normal activity levels.
Is Exercise Good For Asthma-Affected Obese Child?
Exercise is an essential part of the prevention and management of obesity in children because physical inactivity is an underlying cause of both obesity and asthma. The lack of physical activity in children can cause obesity in children, which in turn can cause asthma and other problems for children.
Moreover, lack of physical exercise can also lead to deterioration of respiratory health and reduced oxygen capacity of blood which worsens the symptoms and effect of asthma. Thus, exercise and physical activity is a necessity for every child, both for the prevention of obesity and asthma as well as their management.
Obesity and asthma are highly linked. The prevalence of obesity and asthma is increasing in children of modern society because of lifestyle and genetic factors. To avoid the occurrence of asthma in childhood, the prevention of obesity is necessary.
Physical activity, proper diet, nourishment, and doctor-recommended medication create the perfect scaffold of disease management for obesity and asthma. Since obesity is a cause of aggravator of early asthma in children, parents should try to keep their children active and fit.
The severity of asthma increases because of childhood obesity. Thus, fitness and proper development of the child are a necessity. Additionally, the proper and timely diagnosis of asthma in children and its treatment is necessary for a healthy life ahead.
Frequently Asked Questions
You May Also Read About: What Are The Health Problems Associated With Adult Obesity?