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Add this to the list of insidious places that fat can accumulate: your lungs.
A new study shows, for the first time, that fat can accumulate in the airway walls of the lungs, the authors wrote. The amount of fat accumulation was higher among people who were overweight or obese, compared with those of normal weight.
Findings - Part - Obesity - Risk - Factor
What's more, the findings may explain, at least in part, why obesity is a risk factor for asthma, according to the study, published Thursday (Oct. 17) in the European Respiratory Journal.
The link between obesity and asthma has been known for years, but the reason for the link is not completely understood. Some researchers have suggested that excess weight places direct pressure on the lungs, making breathing more difficult. Others have suggested that obesity may increase inflammation throughout the body, which contributes to asthma.
Study - Mechanism - Play - Peter - Noble
But the new study "suggests that another mechanism is also at play," study co-author Peter Noble, an associate professor at the University of Western Australia in Perth, said in a statement. Fat accumulation may change the structure of people's airways in a way that raises asthma risk, the authors said.
Still, more research is needed to confirm whether fatty tissue in airways really does contribute to asthma, and whether weight loss could reduce asthma risk.
Researchers - Changes - Airways - Diseases - Lung
The researchers had been studying changes in the airways tied to respiratory diseases when they noticed that their lung samples showed that fatty tissue built up in the walls of the airways within the lungs, said study lead author John Elliot, a senior research officer at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth. The scientists wondered whether this fat accumulation was tied to body weight.
To figure that out, Noble, Elliot and their colleagues analyzed postmortem samples of airway tissue from 52 people, including 16 who had...
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