Weight loss reduces dyspnea on exertion and unpleasantness of dyspnea in obese men

Vipa Bernhardt, Dharini M. Bhammar, Rubria Marines-Price, Tony G. Babb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


We hypothesized that weight loss would ameliorate dyspnea on exertion (DOE) and feelings of unpleasantness related to the DOE in obese men. Eighteen men (34 ± 7yr, 35 ± 4 kg/m 2 BMI, mean ± SD) participated in a 12-week weight loss program. Body composition, pulmonary function, cardiorespiratory measures, DOE, and unpleasantness (visual analog scale) were assessed before and after weight loss. Subjects were grouped by Ratings of Perceived Breathlessness (RPB, Borg 0–10 scale) during submaximal cycling: Ten men rated RPB ≥ 4 (+DOE), eight rated RPB ≤ 2 (–DOE). Subjects lost 10.3 ± 5.6 kg (9.2 ± 4.5%) of body weight (n = 18). RPB during submaximal cycling was significantly improved in both groups (+DOE: 4.1 ± 0.3–2.8 ± 1.1; –DOE: 1.3 ± 0.7 to 0.8 ± 0.6, p < 0.001). Several submaximal exercise variables (e.g., V˙O 2 , V˙ E ) were decreased similarly in both groups (p < 0.01). Unpleasantness associated with the DOE was reduced (p < 0.05). The improved RPB was not significantly correlated with changes in body weight or cardiopulmonary exercise responses (p > 0.05). Moderate weight loss appears to be an effective option to ameliorate DOE and unpleasantness related to DOE in obese men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-61
Number of pages7
JournalRespiratory Physiology and Neurobiology
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • Breathlessness
  • Exercise
  • Negative emotions
  • Obesity
  • Respiratory perception
  • Sensory perception
  • Shortness of breath

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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