Researchers found that children with common allergies have an increased risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which increases their risk for heart disease. Even when other factors that can contribute to heart disease were taken into account, the association still remained.
Lead author, Dr. Jonathan Silverberg, said, “This study shows that cardiovascular risk starts far earlier in life than we ever realized. Given how common these allergic diseases are in childhood, it suggests we need to screen these children more aggressively to make sure we are not missing high cholesterol and high blood pressure. There may be an opportunity to modify their lifestyles and turn this risk around.”
Asthma, hay fever and eczema are all conditions that increase inflammation, impair physical activity and affect sleep. The effects of these conditions on children is often unknown.
Dr. Silverberg studied the association between cardiovascular risk factors and asthma, hay fever and eczema in 13,275 children who represented the population across 50 states. All three conditions were associated with higher rates of being overweight or obese – a known factor for heart disease.
Dr. Silverberg suggests that inflammation is closely associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, and children with asthma are predominately more sedentary, which can lead to higher blood pressure and cholesterol.
The findings are published in Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology.