A new study suggests that children who have hay fever, asthma or eczema may also have a higher risk of developing heart diseases at a younger age, compared with children who do not have these allergies.
In the study – published December 8 in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology – the researchers found that children with such allergies had a lot more risk factors for heart disease. Children and young adults with hay fever or asthma were also twice as likely to have high cholesterol levels or high blood pressure, according to the study.
Dr. Jonathan Silverberg, an associate professor of dermatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, said that the results of the study may suggest that allergic diseases could negatively influence other aspects of a child’s health. It is important to recognize these effects to prevent heart disease, Dr. Silverberg stated.
The study found a connection between increased risk of heart disease and common allergies, but it did not indicate a cause-and-effect relationship, the researchers said.
For the study, the researchers looked at data collected in 2012 as part of the National Health Interview Study (NHIS), in which parents of about 13,000 children answered questions about the kids’ health.
Based on the data, the researchers estimated that about 17 percent of children in the United States have hay fever, 14 percent have asthma, and 12 percent has eczema.
A previous study – conducted by Dr. Silverberg – found that American adults who had eczema also had more risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure, higher rates of obesity, and high cholesterol levels, compared with those who did not have the condition. However, people with eczema could also be more likely to drink alcohol, smoke, and get less exercise, the researchers said.
It is still unclear why children with eczema, hay fever, or asthma have more risk factors for heart disease. According to Dr. Silverberg, a possible explanation may be that the inflammation that occurs in kids who suffer from allergies could play a role in heart disease. Higher rates of obesity and lower levels of physical activity in children with allergic disease may also be at fault.
Screening for high cholesterol and high blood pressure could benefit children and young adults who have severe allergies, Dr. Silverberg said. Receiving better treatments for allergic disease, as well as eating healthier and getting more exercise may also help reduce cardiovascular risk, he added.
Image Source: telegraph