Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fat and Allergy

I know you're wondering why is an allergist talking about fat and allergy?  More and more data shows the role of fat as an inflammatory cell in our bodies.  This makes sense if you think about it in terms of diseases we often link with fat like heart disease or diabetes.  But what is the role of fat cells and allergic diseases like asthma?  We see more and more people who are obese and have asthma- could there be a link?

Fat cells cause inflammation in the body.

  • You might not know it, but obesity is a state of low grade inflammation in the body.
  • We think that this inflammation spills over into the blood leading to inflammation at sites other than were the fat is located.
  • Patients who are obese have increased levels of free radicals and other markers of oxidative stress in their blood.
  • Small changes in your weight help to decrease this inflammation.  By loosing even 2- 5 lbs, you have the power to decrease the amount of inflammation in your body. 
Macrophages and inflammation

  • Macrophage (meaning "large eaters" in Greek) in our bodies are responsible for "eating" bacteria, viruses and other things that cause inflammation, like fat cells. 
  • There presence is a sign of "inflammation". 
  • Macrophages are found trying to eat "dying" fat cells.  As they "eat" these cells, they produce inflammatory chemicals associated with oxidative stress & inflammation.    
Leptin and inflammation

  • Leptin is a pro-inflammatory hormone that induces satiety in our bodies
  • Levels of leptin are increased in obesity.
  • You also see increased levels of leptin in patients with asthma.
  • It's still a chicken and egg situation and we aren't sure if the inflammation associated with asthma causes the body to produce extra leptin, or that the increased levels of leptin caused the asthmatic airway inflammation.  
Empowering you to improve your health through small changes with your life is a powerful tool.  Small changes  in your weight may translate to less medications, feeling better on a day-to-day basis, and getting you back to the activities you enjoy doing.

As always, want to talk more about this and how an allergist can help you?  Feel free to call the office  to schedule an appointment   212-679-3574 or do so on line Schedule an Appointment


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