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The effects of obesity on the respiratory system are often under appreciated.
Weight gain and rising BMI are associated with decreases in lung volumes, which are reflected by a more restrictive ventilatory patterns. Abdominal obesity is associated with worsening lung function and respiratory symptoms. In addition, respiratory muscle function has been shown to deteriorate in obesity, in a pattern similar to that seen in chronic respiratory disease like COPD.
Obesity can lead to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and obesity-hypoventilation syndrome (OHS). More recent data suggest that the prevalence of wheezing and bronchial hyper-responsiveness, two symptoms often associated with asthma, are increased in overweight and obese individuals.
However, with bariatric surgery, patients can see a 93% improvement in pulmonary issues. In 74% of cases, pulmonary issues are resolved.