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If you have asthma, you increase your risk of HEART ATTACK and stroke, research suggests

Asthma patients are at increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, scientists say.

They are twice as likely to have excessive plaque buildup in the arteries that supply blood to the brain compared to people who are not asthmatic.

Blockages in the carotid arteries are one of the greatest risk factors for cardiovascular disease and are responsible for three quarters of ischemic strokes.

Asthma leads to plaque buildup due to higher levels of inflammation, which increases the risk of damage to blood vessels leading to the formation of plaques.

It comes after doctors urged asthmatics to keep their inhalers handy because they could have an attack during sex.

In the latest study, researchers at the University of Wisconsin studied about 5,000 adults with an average age of 61 who were at risk for heart disease.

They got an ultrasound of their carotid arteries – which carry blood from the heart to the head and neck.

The participants were divided into three groups: those with persistent asthma, defined as taking daily medication, intermittent asthma, who had a history of the condition but did not require medication, and no asthma.

Two-thirds of people with the most severe asthma had plaque in their carotid arteries, compared with half of those with moderate asthma and non-asthmatics.

After adjusting for age, sex, race, weight, other health conditions, prescription drug use, and smoking, participants with persistent asthma were nearly twice as likely to have plaque in their carotid arteries than those without asthma.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin warned that asthma increases the risk of cardiovascular disease

Dr. Matthew Tattersall, a cardiovascular expert at the University of Wisconsin who led the study, said: ‘The main message of our findings is that more significant forms of asthma are associated with more cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular events.

“Addressing cardiovascular risk factors through lifestyle and behavioral modifications can be a powerful preventative tool for patients with more severe forms of asthma.”

He added, “We know that higher levels of inflammation lead to negative effects on the cardiovascular system.”

Each year, an increasing number of Americans are diagnosed with asthma, with the current number at 25 million — a quarter more than two decades ago.

WHAT IS ASTHMA?

Asthma is a common but incurable condition that affects the small tubes in the lungs.

It can cause them to become inflamed or swollen, restricting airways and making it harder to breathe.

The condition affects people of all ages and often begins in childhood. Symptoms may improve or even disappear as children get older, but may recur in adulthood.

Symptoms include wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing, and these can get worse during an asthma attack.

Treatment usually involves medication that is inhaled to calm the lungs.

Triggers for the condition include allergies, dust, air pollution, exercise, and infections such as the common cold or flu.

If you think you or your child has asthma, you should see a doctor, as it can develop into more serious complications such as fatigue or lung infections.

Source: GGZ

Asthma is a common but incurable condition that affects the small tubes in the lungs.

When the immune system overreacts to a substance — such as pollen and spores released by mold — the airways become inflamed or swollen, narrowing them and making it harder to breathe.

Severe patients can control the condition by regularly taking medication or using an inhaler to relieve symptoms.

In the new study, researchers studied 5,029 adults who participated in the federal government-led Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) study.

The participants averaged about 60 years of age and had been recruited into the study since the year 2000.

Six in 10 were from a minority ethnic group, with estimates showing that asthma is more common in Black and Hispanic communities.

A total of 109 participants had persistent asthma — requiring daily medication — and 388 people had intermittent asthma — where they had been previously diagnosed but did not require daily medication and may already be in remission.

Another 4,532 did not have the condition.

Ultrasound was performed to determine the number of plaques in the carotid arteries.

The results showed that 67 percent of patients with persistent asthma had plaques, an average of about two.

In comparison, of those who did not have asthma, 50.5 percent had plaques with about one in the arteries.

Of those with intermittent asthma, 49.5 percent had plaques with an average of one in the vessels — which was not significantly different from the non-asthma group.

Blood tests for inflammation also showed that persistent asthmatics had more inflammation than those who did not have the condition.

Based on the results, scientists warned that persistent asthma patients were more at risk for heart disease and stroke.

Scientists conducted the study to determine whether asthmatics had more plaques in the carotid arteries.

The study was published today in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

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