Lungs are the pair of spongy organs present on both sides of the chest. They are responsible for the air exchange, what is known as the respiration. This vital process takes place inside the lungs in thin-walled air sacs called alveoli. Obesity is one of the etiologies impairing the respiratory function.
Respiration is the mechanical expansion and shrinkage of the chest wall to fulfill the gas exchange. It is achieved through inhalation followed by exhalation. The oxygen of inhaled air is transported to blood stream via minute blood capillaries surrounding the alveoli. Air exchange is completed when carbon dioxide inside the body is transported from blood stream to lungs. Then, it is exhaled to outside the body.
The lungs and the heart as substantial organs, are protected by a structure called chest wall. It is really important for their protection against many hazards such as trauma.
Chest wall is the system formed of structures outside the lungs that move altogether while breathing. These structures include the rib cage, diaphragm, and abdomen. The chest wall that is also known as the thoracic wall, plays an important role in breathing.
The ribs are connected to each other tightly through muscles, permitting the expansion of the chest easily. The diaphragm descends with each breath in which helps the chest to expand with no remarkable effort.
Breathing problems are closely relevant to many syndromes and health problems as the obesity and overweight. Now, we will review significant facts about the obesity hypoventilation syndrome.
How Lung function is affected by the Obesity hypoventilation syndrome?
First of all, we should know what is obesity and how harmful is it. Generally, obesity is the excessive fats accumulation in the body for a long time. It may turn into a big mess. The exacerbation will be obvious when it affects the body’s overall health.
Excessive obesity is a real crisis, it can lead to hypertension, heart problems and diabetes. While hypoventilation is excessively slow or shallow breathing.
■ Check out: Obesity facts, causes, consequences, and the treatment.
Concerning the effect of obesity on health, obesity hypoventilation syndrome is the first thing that hits the mind. It leads to an extra weight on the chest, making it difficult for the chest to expand. Also, serious breathing problems can result, like asthma and allergy.
A closer view on this syndrome
Since the 1950s, this syndrome has been known as the Pickwickian syndrome. It is a condition in which severely overweight people fail to breathe rapidly or deeply enough. This results in low blood oxygen levels and high blood carbon dioxide levels.
Many people with this condition, repeatedly stop breathing for short periods of time while sleeping. So, they suffer frequent awakening during the night. In this case, it’s known as obstructive sleep apnea. Those having this problem may be continually sleeping during the day time.
The disease may lead to symptoms of heart failure, such as leg swelling (Edema). The patient can overcome this by losing weight. Nocturnal ventilation with positive airway pressure will help relieve the symptoms.
N.B. A simple index of weight-for-height called Body mass index (BMI), is commonly used to classify overweight and obesity in adults. A BMI above 30 kg/m2 is considered obesity.
To sum everything up, the obesity hypoventilation syndrome results from a combination of cases. It consists of obesity, hypoxia during sleeping, and hypercapnia (high blood CO2 level) during the day time.
Healthy eating and commitment to exercising on a regular basis can make you quite healthy. If you have a query or want to say something about this syndrome, write it in the comments. If you find this article useful, share it with friends