Allergies, asthma linked to heart disease, study finds – Boston News, Weather, Sports

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(CNN) – If you have a history of asthma or allergies, you may be at increased risk of developing high blood pressure and coronary heart disease, new research suggests.

According to the research, which will be presented to the American College of Cardiology and Korean Society of Cardiology spring conference in Gyeongju, South Korea.

The highest risk of high blood pressure was found in people with asthma, the researchers said.

High blood pressure and cholesterol, along with lack of exercise, obesity, diabetes, smoking and a family history of cardiovascular problems, are all key factors in heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. the United States.

Asthma most at risk

Previous studies have also found a correlation between allergic disorders and heart disease, but the link was controversial, the researchers said. In this latest research, the scientists tested their hypothesis using data from more than 10,000 allergy sufferers who participated in the 2012 National Health Interview Survey, a government-led survey of people in the United States. United.

Each person suffered from asthma or at least one allergic disorder, such as a respiratory, food or skin allergy.

In addition to the risk of high blood pressure, research has also found a higher risk of coronary heart disease in people aged 39 to 57 with allergies. Coronary artery disease occurs when plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart.

Based on their findings, the researcher encouraged clinicians to add cardiovascular risk assessment to clinical examinations of people with asthma and allergies.

“For patients with allergic disorders, routine blood pressure assessment and routine examination for coronary heart disease should be administered by clinicians to ensure that early treatments are given to those with hypertension or disease. heart disease,” said study lead author Yang Guo, a postdoctoral researcher. at Peking University Hospital in Shenzhen, China, in a statement.

‘The question is why’

While previous research has shown a link between having allergies and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, “the question is why?” said pulmonologist Dr. Raj Dasgupta, assistant professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.

“We can’t really show causation, but science shows it’s linked to pro-inflammatory mediators, things that trigger inflammation in the body,” said Dasputa, who didn’t participate in the panel. study.

Histamines, for example, stimulate blood flow to the area attacked by allergens, which causes the immune system to send out antibodies, thereby triggering inflammation. That’s why many allergy medications are antihistamines, designed to counter this inflammatory reaction.

Although inflammation is the body’s way of fighting off pathogens, an overactive or long-lasting response is an underlying factor in many chronic diseases, including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Antihistamines constrict blood flow, as do other over-the-counter allergy medications such as those containing the “letter D, which is pseudoephedrine,” Dasgupta said. “Those that narrow blood vessels not only in the nose but also in the rest of the body, which can lead to high blood pressure and rapid heartbeat.”

Other medications can also have a negative effect on the cardiovascular system, including steroids often prescribed for asthma attacks and emergencies, Dasgupta said.

“Steroids raise blood pressure, they raise blood sugar, and high blood pressure and high blood sugar are very important risk factors for coronary heart disease and stroke,” he said. “They can also lead to weight gain, which is another risk factor.”

Add all this to other chronic inflammation triggers in the body – such as sugar, highly processed and fried foods, stress, lack of sleep, lack of exercise and pollution, to name a few. just a few – the response “could be multifactorial – the immune system response, drugs and all of those things put together,” Dasgupta said.

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