Add this to the list of insidious places that fat can accumulate: your lungs.
A new study shows for the first time that fat can accumulate in the air walls of the lungs the authors wrote. The amount of fat accumulation was higher among people who were overweight or obese compared to those with normal weight.
In addition, the studies can, at least in part, explain why obesity is a risk factor for asthma, according to the study, published Thursday (October 17) in the European Respiratory Journal .
The link between obesity and asthma has been known for several years, but the reason for the link is not fully understood. Some researchers have suggested that being overweight puts direct pressure on the lungs, making breathing more difficult. Others have suggested that obesity can increase inflammation throughout the body, which contributes to asthma.
But the new study "suggests another mechanism is also playing," study co-author Peter Noble, an associate professor at the University of Western Australia in Perth, said in a statement . Fat accumulation can change the structure of human airways in a way that increases the risk of asthma, the authors say.
More research is still needed to confirm whether oily tissue in the airways really contributes to asthma, and whether weight loss can reduce asthma risk .
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The researchers had studied changes in the airways associated with respiratory diseases when they noticed that their lung samples showed that oily tissue was built up in the walls of the respiratory tract in the lungs. Elliot, a senior research manager at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth. The researchers wondered if this fat accumulation was tied to body weight.
To calculate it, Noble, Elliot and their colleagues analyzed postmortem airway tissue samples from 52 people, including 16 who had died of asthma-related causes, 21 people who had asthma but had died of other causes, and 15 people who did not. had some history of asthma before their deaths.
When the researchers used special dyes to analyze the tissue samples under a microscope, they saw the adipose tissue that had collected in the airway walls among people in each of the three groups.
In addition, the amount of fat in the airway walls was linked to each person's body mass index (BMI) which meant that more fat accumulated in individuals with higher BMI, compared to them. with lower BMI.
The researchers suggest that fat accumulation can lead to a thickening of the airways, which limits airflow. "It can at least partially explain an increase in asthma symptoms," among people with obesity, Noble said.
"This is an important finding on the relationship between body weight and respiratory disease because it shows how overweight or obese can be which aggravates the symptoms of people with asthma," said Thierry Troosters, chair of the European Respiratory Society, who was not involved in the study, in a station . "This goes beyond the simple observation that obese patients need to breathe more with activity … the observation points of real airway changes associated with obesity."
Although the results still need to be confirmed, doctors should support asthma patients to help them achieve or maintain a healthy weight, he said.
Originally published on Live Science .