Fat can build up in obese people's lungs, Study finds

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A new study finds that fat can build up in people's airway walls of the lungs. The amount of fat accumulation was higher among people who were overweight or obese, compared with those of normal weight.

According to the study, published Thursday (Oct. 17) in the European Respiratory Journal it was revealed why obesity is also a risk factor for asthma

The link between obesity and asthma has been known for years, but the reason for the link is not completely understood. Some researchers have suggested that excess weight places direct pressure on the lungs, making breathing more difficult. Others have suggested that obesity may increase inflammation throughout the body, which contributes to asthma. 

Dr Peter Noble, an associate professor at the University of Western Australia, in Perth who worked on the study, said: "Being overweight or obese has already been linked to having asthma or having worse asthma symptoms.

"Researchers have suggested that the link might be explained by the direct pressure of excess weight on the lungs or by a general increase in inflammation created by excess weight."

But, he said, their study suggested "another mechanism is also at play".

"We've found that excess fat accumulates in the airway walls, where it takes up space and seems to increase inflammation within the lungs," Dr Noble said.

"We think this is causing a thickening of the airways that limits the flow of air in and out of the lungs and that could at least partly explain an increase in asthma symptoms."

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