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Emory University researchers find persistent and severe asthma associated with obesity

After analyzing results of a survey of more than 3,000 adults with asthma, researchers at Emory Crawford Long Hospital have found that obese patients with asthma are more likely to have severe asthma when compared to those who are not overweight.

The results of this study will be presented on Wednesday, May 23 at the American Thoracic Society 2007 International Conference in San Francisco.

"Approximately 65 percent of adults in the U.S. age 18 or older are either overweight or obese," says Brian Taylor, MD, a pulmonary fellow and researcher at Emory Crawford Long Hospital. "And similar to the obesity epidemic, there has also been a substantial increase in the prevalence of asthma.

"While there have been many studies on the association between obesity and asthma incidence, few have examined obesity and its relation to asthma severity," explains Dr. Taylor.

To further understand how obesity may impact the severity of asthma, the Emory researchers looked at the association of body mass index (BMI) to quantify a patients body size with the following measures of severity: respiratory symptoms, healthcare utilization (emergency room visits or other unscheduled doctor visits for asthma), medication usage, missed days at work and the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) severity classification. GINA is an international society aimed at standardizing asthma care. Medication usage was evaluated for the 90-day period immediately preceding the survey.

The researchers examined data from the four-state sample of the National Asthma Survey, one of the largest diverse surveys of all asthma patients in the U.S. The survey, collected over a one-year period, consists of self-reported, physician-diagnosed patients with asthma.

The researchers also adjusted for certain variables including: gender, race, age, smoking status, education level, income, employment status, family history of asthma and residence in a metropolita
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Contact: Janet Christenbury
jmchris@emory.edu
404-727-8599
Emory University
23-May-2007


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