BACKGROUND: Obesity has emerged as a risk factor for the development of asthma and it may also influence asthma control and airways inflammation. However, the role of obesity in severe asthma remains unclear. OBJECTIVE: To explore the association between obesity (defined by BMI) and severe asthma. METHODS: Data from the National Registry for dedicated UK Difficult Asthma Services were used to compare patient demographics, disease characteristics and healthcare utilisation between three body mass index (BMI) categories (normal weight: 18.5 -24.99, overweight: 25 -29.99, obese: =30) in a well characterised group of severe asthmatic adults. RESULTS: The study population consisted of 666 severe asthmatics with a median BMI of 29.8 (interquartile range 22.5 -34.0). The obese group exhibited greater asthma medication requirements in terms of maintenance corticosteroid therapy (48.9% versus 40.4% and 34.5% in the overweight and normal weight groups, respectively), steroid burst therapy and short-acting ß2-agonist (SABA) use per day. Significant differences were seen with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) (53.9% versus 48.1% and 39.7% in the overweight and normal weight groups, respectively) and proton pump inhibitor (PPI) use. Bone density scores were higher in the obese group, whilst pulmonary function testing revealed a reduced FVC and raised Kco. Serum IgE levels decreased with increasing BMI and the obese group were more likely to report eczema, but less likely to have a history of nasal polyps. CONCLUSIONS: Severe asthmatics display particular characteristics according to BMI that support the view that obesity associated severe asthma may represent a distinct clinical phenotype.1Royal Brompton Hospital, London, UK;2Department of Computing, Imperial College, UK3Airways Disease, National Heart & Lung Institute, Imperial College, UK;4Centre for infection and immunity, Queen's University of Belfast, UK;5University of Leicester, UK;6The University of Manchester and University Hospital of South Manchester, UK;7Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, University of Birmingham, UK;8Gartnavel General Hospital, University of Glasgow, UK;9Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, UKCorrespondence: Dr Andrew N. Menzies-Gow, Royal Brompton Hospital, Fulham Road, London SW3 6HP.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
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