Lung function norm values ​​change due to weight gain

The lung function norm values ​​naturally decrease over time with human lifespan. However, this decrease is steeper for people with moderate or high weight gain. This is the result of a new study by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal). In this, scientists analyzed the effects of weight changes on respiratory health over a period of 20 years.

Change in pulmonary function norm values

doctor checks a man's pulmonary function on a treadmill

The study, published in Thorax magazine, is based on data from 3,700 participants. They live in different countries in Europe and Australia and are between 20 and 44 years old. Between 1991 and 2014, the researchers repeatedly subjected the subjects to measurements of weight and lung function using spirometry.

“Previous research has shown that weight gain is related to a decrease in lung function. Our study is the first to analyze such a different sample over a longer period of time. Judith Garcia Aymerich, director of the study and program for non-communicable diseases and the environment at ISGlobal, commented. Most previous studies were with relatively short follow-ups and focused on adults up to 50 years of age.

The study found that people with a body mass index within the recommended rates, overweight and obese people experienced an accelerated decline in lung function as they increased. Conversely, weight loss helped mitigate the decrease in lung function in overweight people. In addition, people who kept their weight low throughout adulthood showed a much less pronounced decline in respiratory health.

Two mechanisms could explain the relationship between weight gain and lung health. First, weight gain can affect normal lung function values ​​through mechanical effects. “The fat mass in the abdomen and chest area will likely limit the space for lung expansion,” commented ISGlobal researcher Gabriela Prado Peralta, lead author of the study. Second, weight gain can affect lung function through inflammatory processes, since adipose tissue is a source of inflammatory substances that can damage lung tissue and reduce the diameter of the airways.

Take countermeasures

female feet stand on a scale

Maintaining good lung function in adulthood is crucial. This can help prevent chronic respiratory diseases. These are a serious public health problem today.

“Given the epidemic levels of obesity and obesity that we are currently seeing, it is essential to understand the effects of weight changes on lung function. This is a strong predictor of morbidity and mortality in the general population. The good news is that the negative effects of obesity and obesity on lung health can be reversed through weight loss. Therefore, public health measures that promote a healthy lifestyle can be the key to good lung health. ”

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