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Effect of obesity on pulmonary function test: A comparative study

Manju Agrawala, Samira Kumar Naik, Ramaraman Mohanty.


Background: Obesity is worldwide health problem, with increasing incidence and prevalence, high costs, and poor outcomes. Accumulation of adipose tissue mass is associated with respiratory abnormalities. There is a need to conduct pulmonary function tests (PFTs) among obese subjects and create awareness of the drawback of obesity as it is reversible lifestyle disorder.

Aim and Objective: The aim of the study was to assess the PFT in obese adult males and females and compare the result with controls.

Materials and Methods: PFTs of healthy non-obese subjects and obese but healthy subjects were compared and correlated in a tertiary medical college and hospital. Criteria for obesity were according to the WHO criteria of body mass index. The PFTs were carried out with a computerized spirometer (Med-Spiror).The data were collected, statistically analyzed, and valid conclusions were drawn. Results: There was a statistically significant decrease in the value of forced expiratory volume (FEV) 1 and FEV3. Peak expiratory flow rate in obese males and females whereas forced vital capacity and force expiratory flow 25–75% significantly decreased anly in obese male subjects.

Conclusions: Obesity influences respiratory functions. The cause of this reduction of various pulmonary functions is due to the inability of the chest wall and thoracic cavity to expand which lead to a decrease in ventilatory volumes and total lung capacity.

Key words: Pulmonary Function; Obesity; Body Mass Index

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