Weight management to support immunity and reduce risk of chronic disease
Now that you may be emerging from quarantine, you might be feeling the effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Stress or boredom eating, mental health struggle, and lack of movement during the lockdown have led to additional weight gain that is now being dubbed the COVID-15 or Quarantine-15. While obesity and excess weight are known risks to COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses, it is imperative to address the comorbidities by which excess weight contributes to and is a risk factor for: asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and more.
New respiratory virus pandemics are no longer just a thing we see in movies or ponder “might happen.” It IS happening, and this likely will not be the last. Addressing your weight and risks of comorbidities may help improve outcomes if you are exposed.
The connection between excess weight and chronic diseases
According to the American Lung Association, excess weight around the chest and abdomen might constrict the lungs and make breathing more difficult. Fatty tissue produces inflammatory responses that may impair lung function and lead to asthma. Through it is not completely clear how obesity may cause asthma, we do know that obese patients are often on more medications and are less able to control their asthma than a patient in a healthy weight.
Losing weight might be particularly challenging for those with asthma because it is difficult to exercise. So what is the next step? We might recommend eating a healthy diet and avoiding food high in fat. Research suggests that high fat foods worsen airway inflammation in people with asthma. Avoid strenuous exercise and walk everyday if you can, it can help with your weight and help with breathing.
The extra weight you carry puts your heart under increased stress and over time can cause people to have heart failure symptoms. Greater amounts of belly fat increases triglyceride levels which can contribute to plaque rupturing and inflammation which is damaging to your heart.
Being overweight can also increase your chances of developing other heart disease risk factors such as hypertension, cholesterol abnormalities, type 2 diabetes.
Studies are still being conducted to determine the direct correlation between weight and diabetes, but they’ve shown that abdominal fat causes fat cells to increase inflammation. This may desensitize the body to the insulin it produces by disturbing the function of insulin responsive cells, known as insulin resistance, which is the hallmark of type 2 diabetes.