Having allergies, asthma increases risk of heart disease and high blood pressure later in life

HONG KONG — People with allergies are more likely to develop heart disease and high blood pressure later in life, according to a new study. Asthma contributes most to future development of both cardiac conditions, say scientists.

The research reveals that black adult men were at the highest risk. People with a history of allergic reactions should be given regular check-ups so they can be treated for early signs of either condition.

Scientists previously identified a link between allergies and heart problems, but the thesis had been controversial. The researchers found a history of allergic disorders was associated with increased risk of high blood pressure and coronary heart disease.

In further analyses, people aged 18 to 57 with a history of allergic disorders did show a higher risk of high blood pressure. An increased risk of coronary heart disease was also seen in black men ages 39 to 57. Asthma contributed most to the risk of high blood pressure and coronary heart disease.

For the study, the scientists used data from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey, which contained participants from a cross-section of the American population. One group contained participants with at least one allergic disorder including asthma, respiratory allergy, skin allergy, digestive allergy, or other allergies.

The study included 34,417 adults, over half of whom were women with an average age of about 48 years old. The allergic group included 10,045 adults and the researchers adjusted for age, sex, race, smoking, alcohol consumption and body mass index. Researchers also examined subgroups stratified by demographic factors.

“For patients with allergic disorders, routine evaluation of blood pressure and routine examination for coronary heart disease should be given by clinicians to ensure early treatments are given to those with hypertension or coronary heart disease,” says lead study author Dr. Yang Guo in a statement. “Further large cohort studies with long-term follow-up are needed to confirm our findings. Additionally, appreciating the underlying mechanism may help future management in such individuals.”

The findings were presented at the American College of Cardiology’s Asia 2022 spring conference.

Report by South West News Service writer Gwyn Wright.

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