Study finds that having allergies or asthma may increase the risk of heart disease

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CNN
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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 has found.

Adults between the ages of 18 and 57 who suffer from an allergic disorder had a higher risk of high blood pressure, according to research to be presented in the American College of Cardiology. Korean Society of Cardiology Spring Conference in Gyeongju, South Korea.

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

High blood pressure and cholesterol, along with a lack of exercise, obesity, diabetes, smoking and a family history of cardiovascular problems, are all major contributors to heart disease. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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

Everyone had asthma or at least one allergic disorder, such as a respiratory, food or skin allergy.

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

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

Lead study author Yang Guo, a postdoctoral researcher, said, “For patients with allergic disorders, regular evaluation of blood pressure and regular screening for coronary heart disease should be given by physicians to allow early treatment for those with hypertension or coronary heart disease.” ” In a statement at Peking University Shenzhen Hospital in China.

Allergies can increase inflammation in the body, which is linked to heart disease.

While prior research has shown an association between having allergies and an increased risk of heart disease, “the question is why?” Pulmonologist Dr. Raj Dasgupta said.

“We can’t really show causation, but science shows it’s linked to pro-inflammatory mediators, which trigger inflammation in the body,” said Dasputa, who was not involved in the study. were.

Histamines, for example, promote blood flow to the area where the allergen attacks, causing the immune system to send antibodies, thus triggering inflammation. This is why many allergy medications are antihistamines, designed to counteract that inflammatory response.

Although inflammation is the body’s way of fighting pathogens, a hyperactive or long-lasting reaction It 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. “They constrict blood vessels not only in the nose but in the rest of the body, which can lead to high blood pressure and increased heart rate.”

Dasgupta said other drugs can also have negative effects on the cardiovascular system, including steroids often prescribed for asthma attacks and emergencies.

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

add this to all others triggers of chronic inflammation In the body – such as sugar, highly processed and fried foods, stress, poor sleep, lack of exercise and pollution, to name a few – the answer “could be multifactorial – immune response, medications and all of these things together.” is kept together, Dasgupta said.

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