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Weight Loss and Breathing

Weight Loss and BreathingWhat is the effect of weight loss on your breathing? Many posts talk about various diets and the amount of weight that you can lose if you go on one diet or another. Some diet plans will discuss the benefits of losing weight on other related illnesses. These include diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Most people find that when they lose weight, that these various problems will become less of an issue or disappear all together. In fact on the show the “Biggest loser”, many of the contestants who lose significant amounts of weight will talk about how much better they feel. They mention how they have stopped taking medicine for various health issues that they may have had. What they do not talk about is Weight Loss and Breathing issues.

Another major benefit is the ability to take a deep breath without wheezing and to walk without becoming short of breath. There is a major difference between exercising and being short of breath vs. taking a short walk up and down your driveway and being short of breath.  Add to this the complications of bronchitis or asthma and you have the conditions for a major illness and possibly death due to lack of oxygen. If you have ever been short of breath and know the fear of not being able to breathe then you will know what I mean! That is why there is such a connection between weight loss and breathing capabilities.

Weight Loss and Breathing

I am slightly over weight and in relatively good shape having exercised regularly, doing many miles on my bicycle and going to the gym about 4 times a week. Recently I had a case of severe bronchitis, needed treatments at the hospital and was very short of breath. Even though I was in good shape, nothing prepared me for the shortness of breath and gasping for air. This is a frightfully scary thing to have happen. I have discovered the connection between weight loss and breathing.

What If You are Also Over Weight

I am slightly over weight, however what if you are significantly over weight? If you are, chances are that your lungs are already compressed. You may also have bronchitis or asthma and you have a truly scary situation. Your lungs are already compressed and now your air ways are swollen due to a virus, a cold or environmental contaminants in the air such as smoke, deodorizer or other things that are naturally occurring. This is why weight loss and breathing issues can be so important.

You are in big trouble and need to see a doctor quickly because your body will shut down on you if you do not get enough oxygen to it!  Some symptoms besides being shortness of breath are:

  • Fever
  • High blood pressure
  • Chest pains
  • Swelling in the ankles

If you have any of these symptoms do not wait, get checked out immediately.

Basically the extra weight you are carrying around compresses your lungs and makes it more difficult for your diaphragm to push air out of your lungs and to also draw deep breaths of air into your lungs. All of this extra weight is hard on your heart and of course your joints as well, but we will stay focused on just taking a breath. If you cannot get air into your lungs then you are not getting enough oxygen into your blood stream and now you are in serious trouble because your heart cannot do it’s job. This is bad news.

Fix the Initial Problem , then Lose Weight

Obviously you need to get over the asthma or bronchitis or whatever is causing you to be short of breath. This is the most important near term issue. However as soon as your bronchitis attack etc is under control, start the process of losing weight and getting into shape. You just have to look at the people on the “Biggest Loser” to see the dramatic effects it has on their overall well being. As well as their ability to get a full breath of air and not be short of breath or gasping for air all of the time.

Most of us need that one big scare to get our acts together. For some people it is a heart attack, for others it is getting sick from too much alcohol, still for others it is gasping for breath because we are too heavy and our bodies just cannot deal with the extra weight. We cannot get enough air into our lungs and cannot move around the way we used to. Make the commitment now to get into shape and lose weight.

Weight Loss and Breathing – Environmental Triggers

With the exception of environmental triggers, your bronchitis and asthma will occur less often and you will be stronger and more able to deal with these sudden onsets of bronchitis.

If your bronchitis is triggered by environmental issues, find out what they are and avoid them like the plague. There is no sense in exposing yourself to these triggers. Just stay away from them. Avoid people with colds and fevers, avoid people that smoke, avoid dusty situations or places with lots of contaminants in the air. In my personal situation, in addition to all of the above, I am also going to avoid hotels that do not have smoke free environments and also hotels that use deodorizer to hide the smells of cigarette smoke or other odors in the rooms. These are the worst for me and will set me off with  bronchitis attack for sure.

We would be happy to hear your comments and any other suggestions for dealing with shortness of breath. Please post a comment to our blog.


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