Children with allergic diseases such as asthma and hay fever have a higher rate of blood pressure and cholesterol, about twice that of other children, putting them at risk of heart disease at an early age. This risk may exacerbate childhood obesity, say researchers at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Their study will be published Dec. 8 in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology.
Asthma, hay fever, and eczema are pathologies already associated with symptoms like chronic inflammation, impaired physical activity, sleep disturbance, and significant morbidity. However, very little is known about the cardiovascular risk factors in children with these diseases.
To conduct this research, data was collected using the 2012 National Health Interview Survey on a total 13,275 children representative of each U.S. state. Of these children, 14 percent presented with asthma, 12 percent were diagnosed with eczema, and 16.6 percent had hay fever. Diagnoses of asthma, hay fever, and eczema were all associated with higher rates of body weight and obesity.
Head of the research study, Dr. Jonathan Silverberg explained that, “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.”
The association between hypertension and high cholesterol exists separately from obesity, Dr. Silverberg said in a press release. Inflammation occurring in asthma and hay fever also might contribute to the higher rates of cardiovascular disease manifestation. Moreover, children with profound asthma are typically more sedentary, a harmful effect that may drive up their blood pressure and cholesterol.
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways which can be expressed through airflow obstruction and bronchospasm. You can read more about this pathology here. Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is an allergy and its symptoms resemble chronic colds. You can read more on this pathology here.