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Having allergies or asthma may increase heart disease risk, study says

If you have a history of asthma or allergies, you may be at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure and heart disease, new research finds.

Adults ages 18 to 57 who suffered from an allergic disorder had a higher risk of hypertension, according to the research, which will be presented at a conference of the American College of Cardiology and the Korean Society of Cardiology in Gyeongju, South Korea. .

The greatest risk of high blood pressure was identified among people with asthma, the researchers said. High blood pressure and cholesterol, along with a lack of exercise, obesity, diabetes, smoking, and a family history of cardiovascular problems, are major contributors to heart disease, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). U.S.

Higher risk of asthma

Previous studies have also pointed to a correlation between allergic disorders and heart disease, but the link was controversial, the researchers said. In this recent research, the scientists tested their hypotheses using data from more than 10,000 people with allergies who participated in the 2012 National Health Interview Survey, a US government-led population health survey.

Of the participants, each person 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 identified an increased risk of coronary heart disease for people ages 39 to 57 with allergies. Coronary heart disease occurs when plaque builds up on the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart.

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

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

‘The question is why?’

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

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

Histamines, for example, increase blood flow to the area that the allergen attacks, which causes the immune system to send out antibodies, thus triggering inflammation. This is why many allergy medications are antihistamines, designed to fight this inflammatory response.

While inflammation is the body’s way of fighting pathogens, an excessive 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 narrow blood vessels not just in the nose, but in the rest of the body, which can lead to high blood pressure and increased heart rate.”

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, 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 cause weight gain, which is another risk factor.”

Add all this to other triggers of chronic inflammation in the body – like sugar, highly processed and fried foods, stress, poor sleep, lack of exercise and pollution, to name a few – the response “can be multifactorial – the immune response, medications and all. these things together,” Dasgupta said.

Source: CNN Brasil

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