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Learn About Obesity

Obesity is a known risk factor for many health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, and cancer. However, it can also have a significant impact on respiratory health and often causes symptoms such as shortness of breath that can inhibit your lifestyle.


As weight increases, the volume of the lungs is reduced, which restricts the entry of air and your ability to breathe.

The distribution of fat is also an important factor and fat deposited around the abdomen is associated with worse respiratory symptoms. This is because the fat tissue around the abdominal organs inhibits the movement of the diaphragm and restricts the expansion of the lungs that allows air inside.


The symptoms linked to obesity are often similar to those of respiratory disease such as chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD). These include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Coughing

Additionally, obesity is also a risk factor for respiratory diseases, such as obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, asthma, pulmonary embolism and aspiration pneumonia.


Body mass index (BMI) is used to categorize adult body weight adjusted to the height of the individual. Although it does not account for muscle mass, it is a good indicator of excess weight of an individual. A BMI > 30 is considered as obese.

If you are obese and experiencing respiratory symptoms, it is important that your weight is considered when your doctor is making your treatment plan. This is because your weight can have a great impact on your symptoms and making changes to lower it to a healthy range can help to improve all respiratory conditions and overall health.


The ideal treatment for an individual with respiratory symptoms linked to obesity is to lose weight. Initially, this can be challenging because physical activity can cause symptoms such as shortness of breath to worsen significantly.

It is important for individuals to participate in regular physical activity, such as light walking for 30 minutes each day. In the beginning, this may cause difficulty breathing and patients may require administration of oxygen to meet the demands of the body.

Nutrition is also a critical factor in maintaining a healthy body weight. Your doctor will help you to understand how you can alter your diet to lose weight and improve your overall health.

Want to know more?

If you are overweight or obese and are experiencing respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath, it is important that you talk to medical professional about how you can improve your health.

At Central Arkansas Lung, we will be happy to give you personalized and professional advice about what you can do to lose weight and reduce your symptoms. Simply call 345 345 345 if you’d like more information or to organize an appointment to discuss your situation.

Further Reading