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Common allergies linked to heart disease

Common allergies like wheezing, sneezing and watery eyes could be linked to heart disease.

Common allergies linked to heart disease

Common allergies like wheezing, sneezing and watery eyes could be linked to heart disease.

To study the association between common allergic symptoms and heart disease, researchers followed 8,653 American adults aged 20 years or older. Overall 18 percent of the adults reported wheezing and 46 percent suffered bouts of a stuffy nose or itchy and watery eyes - a combination of allergic symptoms known as rhinoconjunctivitis. Six percent of participants had heart disease.

After adjusting other related factors such as age and asthma, it was found that there was a 2.6-fold raised risk of heart disease with wheezing and a 40 percent higher risk with rhinoconjunctivitis, compared to no allergies. The association was mainly seen in women younger than age of 50 years.

It is presumed that  intermittent inflammation that comes with allergies may lead to the thickening of artery walls, and eventually heart disease. It could also be that some people simply carry genes that are linked to the development of both allergies and heart disease. Young women may have a stronger inflammatory response due to allergic conditions than men, perhaps due to estrogens.

The study suggests that common allergic symptoms (other than asthma) raise the risk of coronary heart disease particularly in women younger than 50 years. However, the researchers stress that the findings do not prove that allergies actually cause heart disease and much more study is required to say if allergies truly have a role to play in the development of heart disease.
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