Can being underweight affect asthma?

I am underweight and have had a flare up of asthma over the last two years or so, which still isn't back to normal although it seems to be improving. I have had an eating disorder in the past and am still underweight although I have gained enough weight back to not be worryingly thin anymore, and I eat fairly normally.

My question is whether this could have caused my flare up initially, and whether still being underweight could make it harder to get asthma back under control?

I plan to ask the consultant next time I see him but I thought I would see what people here think. I have tried to find out online but haven't been able to find much.

Probably a bit of an unusual question, but thought I would see if anyone had any wisdom!


3 Replies

  • Hiya

    Can totally relate to your post. I've got an eating disorder and am still underweight and my consultant thinks there is a correlation between my weight and my poor nutrition and my asthma deteriorating quite rapidly in recent years. I'm currently in an eating disorder unit and my respiratory consultant hopes that when my weight and nutrition improve my asthma will too. I've had asthma since childhood so probably never going to have an easy run of it with my breathing but they definitely think my weight isn't helping matters.

    Hope your consultant can answer some of your questions

  • Thanks for the reply. I hope you're finding things helpful in treatment and that you're getting all the support you need. I am definitely going to speak to the consultant about it, but feel a bit anxious about bringing it up as I don't want him to judge me for having had an ed. I suppose it makes sense that if nutritionally/in weight terms a person is compromised, that it will affect everything about the body including respiratory health. I hope once you improve your health, that your asthma also improves.Take care x

  • I was very underweight for a long time - I just didnt feel like eating especially when not well. I dont know for sure but assume that being underweight could affect your asthma - it's a strain on all the organs if they arent getting enough nutrition. They are struggling to operate effectively if not enough food and oxygen are getting through.

    Also being undernourished must affect the immune system ie weaken it. So you are more prone to colds etc which can worsen asthma. Colds are my main trigger and I take extra vits, espec vit C. Have done for a few years now and am sure it's helped.

    Good luck with the consultant - hope he can help.

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