Overweight Youth With Asthma May Overuse Rescue Meds

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Overweight Youth With Asthma May Overuse Rescue Meds
Overweight Youth With Asthma May Overuse Rescue Meds

(HealthDay News) -- Overweight and obese children with asthma may mistake symptoms such as exertional dyspnea and esophageal reflux for loss of asthma control, leading to unnecessary use of rescue medications, according to a study published online Oct. 14 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Jason E. Lang, M.D., M.P.H., from Nemours Children's Hospital in Orlando, Fla., and colleagues examined qualitative differences in symptoms between overweight/obese and lean children with early-onset atopic asthma. Data were collected from a cross-sectional analysis involving 10- to 17-year-olds with persistent early-onset asthma. The association between weight status and symptoms was assessed.

The researchers found that lung function was similar for overweight/obese and lean children. Overweight/obese children reported more frequent rescue treatments (3.7 versus 1.1 treatments/week; P = 0.0002) despite lower fraction of exhaled nitric oxide (P = 0.037) and reduced methacholine responsiveness (P < 0.012). The primary symptoms reported with loss of asthma control varied with weight status (P = 0.003); shortness of breath was more frequently reported by overweight/obese children (odds ratio, 11.8), while cough was less often reported (odds ratio, 0.26). Overweight/obese children had higher gastroesophageal reflux scores (9.6 versus 23.2; P = 0.003), which seemed to mediate symptoms of overweight/obesity-linked asthma.

"Overweight/obese children with early-onset asthma display poorer asthma control and a distinct pattern of symptoms," the authors write. "Overweight children with asthma may falsely attribute exertional dyspnea and esophageal reflux to asthma, leading to excess rescue medication use."

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