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Breathing Problems

Breathing problems are one of the leading co-morbid conditions diagnosed in severely obese patients. It’s because the breathing patterns are severely affected due to –

  1. Decreased volume of lungs.

  2. Narrowing of airways by extra fat.

  3. Increased intra abdominal Pressure hampering diaphragmatic movements.

  4. Respiratory muscles of chest are unable to draw in air due to weight of extra fat.

breathing problems

Inadequate gas exchange leads to low levels of oxygen and high levels of carbon dioxide in blood causing –

 1. Obesity Hypoventilation syndrome (Pickwickian Syndrome)

a) Feeling out of breath

b) Having lack of energy

c) Feeling sleepy or fatigued during the day

d) Morning headaches

e) Swelling or bluish discoloration of fingers, toes or legs

f) Depression

g) Hypertension

Obesity Hypoventilation syndrome

Complications include

i) Sleep Apnea in which the patient stops breathing for short spells and usually resumes with a choking sound

ii) Pulmonary Hypertension and Respiratory Acidosis

iii) Cor Pulmonale which is right sided heart failure due to respiratory cause

iv) Osteoarthritis

v) Non alcoholic steatohepatitis

2.Asthma – Patients suffering from Obesity are more at risk of asthma or acute attacks related to asthma.

3.Heart conditions – Persistently low levels of oxygen or hypoxia is detrimental for heart and leads to various heart ailments.

4.Aspiration Pneumonia – The short and shallow breaths may cause the harmful acids in the stomach to move into the lungs causing aspiration pneumonia.

5.Lung conditions – With lesser levels of oxygen in the body, the lungs are more likely to be affected as the respiratory muscles deteriorate and make patients susceptible to diseases like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

 

Authored By Dr.Nikhil Agnihotri

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