Published Online: January 5, 2016
Asthma and obesity are common disorders with a prevalence that has increased substantially over recent decades. Although several studies have suggested an association between obesity and asthma, there are a variable number of obese subjects with asthma-like symptoms in the absence of any functional evidence of asthma, suggesting a misdiagnosis of asthma. To date, the causes of these asthma-like symptoms in obese subjects are not well defined.
In a study recently published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI), Carlos Carpio et al studied the perception of dyspnea during bronchial challenge and exercise in obese subjects with asthma, misdiagnosed asthma and control subjects to identify the mechanisms of asthma-like symptoms in obesity.
The main difference between obese subjects with misdiagnosed asthma and obese controls lies in a higher perception of dyspnea (during bronchial challenge and exercise) to such an extent that this perception is similar to that of asthma patients. In obese subjects, the levels of systemic inflammatory biomarkers are the main determinants of perception of dyspnea during exercise.
Some false diagnoses of asthma in obese patients are justified by an increased perception of dyspnea, related with systemic inflammation and an excessive ventilatory response for metabolic demands.
The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) is an official scientific journal of the AAAAI, and is the most-cited journal in the field of allergy and clinical immunology.