More advances in medicine make their way to the metaphorical front pages of the Internet this week, this time related to allergies. According to a study performed by scientists at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, there is a higher chance of heart disease in children with common allergies.
- 50 million people in the United States are affected by nasal allergies
- Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, is the cause of over 13.4 million yearly visits to the doctor
- About 9.5 million children throughout the country suffer from skin allergies
- Allergy shots cause improvements in 85% of hay fever cases
- 8% of American children are affected by food allergies
Dr. Jonathan Silverberg from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine led a study that used data from a 2002 interview taken of 13, 275 children throughout the country.
The study showed that common allergic conditions, like asthma, hay fever, and eczema can lead to an increase in the chances for the individual to develop a cardiovascular disease.
The cause may be the inflammation in the blood vessels caused by such afflictions, however the study was observational, and so no other data could be retrieved.
However, Dr. Silverberg states that he believes another factor could be responsible.
Generally, kids with allergies are kept indoors by their parents, so that their allergies are not triggered. This may lead to an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, and eventually, to increased risk of heart disease.
Even though there is no data to confirm this theory, the lead author of the study advises the parents of children susceptible to allergies to do two things: take the child to an allergist in order for him to get the best treatment available, and let the child go outside and play, encourage a healthy lifestyle.
Since the study used data already collected in 2002, it couldn’t really draw any more conclusions than it already did: that unlike healthier children, kids with allergies are more predisposed to heart disease. There was no way of discovering an actual cause, only a causal relationship.
But the people behind the study agree that the reason stated by Dr. Silverberg is most like the most accurate one.
Over-protective parents keep their children indoors, thus encouraging a sedentary lifestyle, and eventually an increased risk for heart disease. Allowing the children to live a normal life, with the help of an allergist, is the best way to avoid the appearance of avoidable cardiovascular problems.
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