Can Allergies Increase Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease?

Researchers are beginning to think so, and particularly among women. A number of recent studies point to a heightened risk, although they do not prove outright that allergies and asthma cause heart disease. Allergic diseases, it turns out, overstimulate the immune system and generate inflammatory chemicals that are also associated with the beginning of arterial disease.Therein lies danger.

One of the studies was an analysis of health data on more than 8,600 American adults aged 20 and up in which researchers found a significant association between common allergic reactions – such as nasal congestion, runny nose, post-nasal drip, sneezing, red eyes (conjunctivitis), itching of the nose or eyes, and wheezing – and an increased risk of coronary artery disease primarily among women below the age of 50.

 My Viewpoint: I often saw patients with hypertension, chest pain, and heart failure having a bad time with their conditions during pollen season. Throughout much of my adult life I have lived in the Connecticut River Valley, and myself suffered with pollen allergy symptoms in April and May. Some years ago, I arranged to “get out of Dodge” (in my case, I went to Florida) to escape the seasonal ordeal.

 What this Means to You: Hormones may play a role in the increased risk, some researchers think. Generally speaking, there may be a compounded inflammatory effect. Cardiovascular disease is caused by silent inflammation. The presence of allergies releases more inflammatory substances into the system. In a sense it is like throwing gasoline on a fire. More research is certainly needed to confirm current findings so that physicians can be alert to the connection given the fact that between 10 and 30 percent of the population is affected by common allergic symptoms.

 Recommendation: Find a method to reduce inflammation in your body and strengthen your immune system. One of the best and simplest I know is Earthing. Targeted nutritional supplements will also help, such as vitamin D, C, quercetin, and omega-3 fatty acids like squid or fish oil.

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