Non-obese people with asthma can reduce their symptoms and improve their quality of life through diet and exercise, according to research presented at the 2017 European Respiratory Society International Congress.
Asthma affects one in ten people in the Western world. Most patients rely on daily medicine to control their illness, and many are wary of exercise, believing it can trigger symptoms. However, a new study suggests that exercise, combined with a healthy diet, may help patients better control symptoms such as wheezing. , chest pain and shortness of breath. The study is presented by researchers from Denmark, and the findings suggest that there is growing evidence that patients with asthma who are not obese can benefit from diet and increased exercise. One hundred and forty-nine patients were randomly assigned to four groups. One group was asked to follow a high protein, low glycemic index diet that maintained proper blood sugar levels. They were also asked to eat at least six servings of fruits and vegetables a day. The other group took part in exercise classes three times a week at the hospital. These classes included bursts of high-intensity activity designed to increase heart rate mixed with milder activity. The third group participated in the activities and followed the diet, while the remaining control group did nothing. By the end of eight weeks, 125 people remained in the study. Intense exercise was found to be safe for patients. While scientists have not found a definite improvement in patients’ lung function, the combination of diet and exercise has been noted to improve both symptom control and patients’ quality of life, as well as improve their fitness. On average, those who participated in the exercise and followed the diet rated their asthma symptom score 50% better than the control group. Those patients who followed either the exercise program or the diet program rated their symptoms 30% better on average. compared with the control group, but this result did not reach statistical significance. The study shows that asthma patients who are not obese can safely participate in well-planned high-intensity exercise. Exercise combined with a healthy diet may help patients control asthma symptoms and improve quality of life. The authors will continue to investigate the effects of diet and exercise on asthma in the long term. They hope to discover which diet and activities have the most impact, to find out if some patients can benefit more than others and, ultimately, whether lifestyle changes can replace asthma prevention medicine.