Asthma and allergy go hand in hand
Dealing with asthma can be tough and even tougher when it’s coupled with an allergy. The double whammy can make spring a challenging time. Now, a study finds that the majority of people with asthma are in this exact situation.
The report published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, found that almost two-thirds of the nearly 25 million Americans with asthma also have an allergy.
Asthma is a disorder that causes the airways of the lungs to swell and narrow, leading to wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing.
Asthma can affect people of all ages but usually starts in childhood according to the National Institutes of Health. About 7 million children in the U.S. have asthma.
Researchers found that a whopping 75 percent of asthmatic adults aged 20 to 40-years-old, and 65 percent of asthmatic adults aged 55 years and older, have at least one allergy. More than 2,500 adults responded to a national survey that included questions about 19 different allergens.
“Allergists have known the prevalence of allergies among asthmatic children is high at 60 to 80 percent, but it was thought allergies were not as common in asthmatic adults,” said study leader Dr. Paula Busse, in a news release.
The study’s authors hope the new report raises awareness about the combination of asthma and allergies and leads to more effective treatments.
“Both asthma and allergies can strike at any age, and are serious diseases,” said allergist Richard Weber, MD, American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), president. “Anyone who thinks they may be having symptoms of an allergy or asthma should see a board-certified allergist. Allergists are experts in diagnosing and treating both conditions.”
The ACAAI says an increasing number of people are developing allergies with more than 50 million Americans affected. It’s not good news, they say.
“It could be one of many creating this perfect storm for allergies,” said Dr. Weber. “Other factors, such as the hygiene hypothesis, climate change and an increase in awareness and education can also be reasons for this growth.”
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