By Jack Elsom For Mailonline
Published: 00:01 BST, 18 October 2019 | Updated: 00:01 BST, 18 October 2019
Overweight people develop fat in their lungs which can make it harder for them to breathe, scientists have discovered.
Respiratory problems such as asthma have long been linked to those with a high BMI but the reason for this has never been clear.
Past research has suggested that the lungs become compressed under the excess load being exerted upon them.
For the first time, a study by Australian researchers has found that fatty tissue clogs up the airway walls and restrict the supply of oxygen.
Asthma and wheezing has long been linked to those with a high BMI but the reason for this has never been clear (file photo)
Fatty adipose cells are seen to clog up the airway walls of the of the lungs, making the airway thicker and contributing to breathing problems in overweight and obese people
Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and the University of Western Australia in Perth found that excess adipose tissue - the medical name for body fat - swelled the thickness of the airway walls and caused them to become inflamed.
The scientists, led by John Elliot, analysed 52 post-mortem lungs which had been donated to the Airway Tissue Biobank.
Of these lungs, 15 belonged to people who did not suffer asthma, 21 who had asthma but died of other causes, and 16 who died of asthma.
A total 1,373 airways were examined under the microscope using dyes to expose any fatty tissue.
The amount of fatty tissue was then compared to each person's BMI when they had been alive.