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Losing weight from asthma?

I've been struggling to keep weight on despite eating a lot particularly since my asthma got worse. The asthma nurse has said its because I am expending so much energy breathing. I'm now 6stone 13lbs and most people laugh at me but its not funny as I have no reserves and don't look great . The asthma nurse said it was fairly common but I've never heard it before. I'm finally getting a blood test today to check for other things. I wondered if this had happened to anyone else?

10 Replies

when i have asthma attacks i loose a bit of weight but if my asthma is really bad over a few days i loose loads, so it might be the same?


I don't have that problem - I wish!! I gain weight when I am on steroids and then spend my 'well time' trying to lose it all again!


I dont have the same problem but have you thought of drinking slimfasts as well as your diet full of the correct nutrients etc as a way of hopefully gaining some weight?


Most of the asthmatics have no trouble at all with weight gain, if you want you could take my pred for the next 6 months and see what happens :)


I have the opposite....I gain weight very quickly despite eating very healthily, thatspurely because of steroids, been on them since April time last year and the weight gain has been hurrendous.

I'm going with Bex, you can take my steroids too, lol.


It's not often that I get in on this kind of stuff. I know most asthmatics are the opposite, due to prednisolone side effects, but trying to hold on to weight can be as tough as trying to lose it, and comments like ""I wish I had that problem"" - whilst understandable - aren't helpful.

Weight problems of any kind require support and understanding. My own silly fault, I know, but with my training I have had a similar problem with trying to keep on weight, despite eating as much and as healthily as I could, and with my GP telling me not to lose any more weight. In asking for advice in running forums, though, I got pretty much the same response - everyone seems to have the opposite situation and wishes they could complain about difficulty keeping weight on! It gets a bit wearing when there's no constructive help, and eventually you just learn to keep quiet about it.

Sammie, yes it can be possible to lose weight if your asthma and general health is persistently bad, due to the extra energy your body requires to keep you ticking over. Things that I have found to help are eating often,a technique called ""grazing"" - moderate amounts often, rather than 3 meals a day. Slow-release foods like wholemeal breads, pasta, porridge etc also help as you won't get that sugar-high/low situation which can play havoc with calorie control. If things are very bad you may be able to be prescribed high-calorie drinks from your doctor to help boost your intake until you start to get better.



(PS feel free to tear me to shreds, I've not got my moderator hat on for this post :) )


Thanks Cathbear and Wheezer1 for your common sense advice which I will definitely be trying.

I know some of you might be offended by me asking for advice on this but it is a health issue for me as well. When my weight goes down like this I get skin problems on my face, I'm even more exhausted and get more side effects from the inhalers amongst others. I too have taken a fair amount of steroids this year and have other side effects from them. Suggesting steroids is inappropriate and not a joking matter.


I get exactly the same, after i come of the steroids my weight drops! Im on the verge of being underweight but really wouldn't want to tell my doctor about this as i really don't want the calorie shakes (history of anorexia and a very bad experience of these). I eat LOADS and its all really high calorie and fat stuff. Is there any foods that can help - or anything?!


Hi Sammie,

Yeah I can relate to that. My asthma has been appalling since feb and I have lost two stone despite being on pred! My GP wasnt too concerned, and gave the same reasonings eg energy expenditure on breathing and being too breathless/unwell generally to be able to eat much! I'm really rather pleased, but certainly wouldnt want to lose anymore than that and so can understand your concerns.

Good luck with the blood tests


Hi there sammy,

I set up a discussion on here earlier this year as I like so many others was having real problems loosing weight with my steriods set sooooo high. I am nearing the end of an admission from hell with my asthma now and have dropped so much weight in such a short space of time that the doctors and dieticians etc have put me on calogen shots (a high fat drink full of calories), fortisip, fortijuices and fortimels which are all nutritional support drinks and fortified yoghurts and forticremes which are high calorie deserts. i have also been told to snack little and often on slow release carbs like cathbear said. I have never had this experience to pred before but as i say this has been a nightmare admission this time and by no means 'normal' for me either. Having experienced both sides of the weight problems associated with steriods i can see that both are equally as frustrating and concerning.

Hope that you can find a nutritional suppliment or method which helps you soon sammie. I do find the things are helping i am now manageing 3 very small meals but having 4 fortisips or fortijuices a day 2 forticremes and at least 1 yoghurt and my calogen shots 3 times a day. the extra calories in all this is about 4200. I have only just managed yesterday not to loose weight (actually gained 4 oz's in a day) but today I had again lost another kg. As cathbear said and my docs have said to me its just because my body has more need of the calories at the moment Hope that you get on ok keep us all posted.

Lotsa love KK Xxx


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