If you suffer from asthma or allergies, you may be at higher risk of developing heart disease. Some of the medications you use to treat heart disease may have an impact on risk, too, according to a new review of clinical trials and lab research.
The study’s primary author said, “many people think of asthma as related to the lungs, but there’s an important link between asthma and cardiovascular diseases, like coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, and more.
The review looked at clinical trials showing links between asthma and health threats like coronary and aortic heart diseases; narrowed arteries that reduce blood flow to limbs; stroke; heart failure, and other cardiac complications.
Although the exact reasons for the link are unknown, the buildup of specific types of inflammatory cells in the lungs, heart, and blood vessels may play a role.
And the links are not just to asthma, either. The researchers also found associations between various types of allergies and heart disease.
Seasonal allergies, allergic eczema, and severe food and drug allergies were also noted as significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
The team also found that different treatments for these conditions may impact risk.
Inhaled albuterol (generally used to treat acute asthma attacks), inhaled corticosteroids (like fluticasone propionate and budesonide), and leukotriene modifiers (like montelukast) seemed to reduce heart disease risk.
On the other hand, oral and intravenous corticosteroids, like prednisone, appeared to increase the risk.
So what does all this mean for you? It means that if you suffer from seasonal allergies, you may want to pay attention to blood pressure and heart health and do your best to control lifestyle factors that are known to impact heart health.
It also offers doctors another tool to assess a person’s heart health.
More work, however, is required to establish a strong link between allergies, asthma, and heart health.