By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.
Researchers are continuing to find strong evidence linking asthma to the risk of cardiovascular disease and events like heart attack and stroke. In a 2015 study conducted at multiple university medical centers in the U.S., researchers found that adult men and women with persistent asthma had a significantly higher risk for cardiovascular disease than non-asthmatics. The researchers characterized persistent asthmatics as those using controller medications, including inhalers and oral steroids.
The findings were based on analyzing medical information in a long-term multi-ethnic study of arterial disease. The database included nearly 6,800 subjects: 53% women, 28% African-American, 22% Hispanic, and 2% Asian-American. Among them were 156 persistent asthmatics.
Over a nearly 10-year period, the group of medication-controlled asthmatics was found to have a 60 percent higher rate of cardiovascular events than non-asthmatics.
The researchers noted that the individuals with persistent asthma had higher levels of C reactive protein, a protein released into the blood in the presence of active inflammation in the body, as well as fibrinogen, a protein that promotes blood clotting. Elevation of both proteins has been linked to cardiovascular disease.
My Viewpoint: Cardiologists have been aware of this association. At times of seasonal pollen allergies, I often saw patients really suffering from severe asthmatic bronchitis. This is a known time of heightened cardiovascular risk. The allergic episode, in combination with asthma, and a cardiac condition or hypertension, represents a high tide of inflammation and a significant stress on the body. You can die from this combination.
What This Means to You: Asthma needs to be treated seriously with both conventional medication and alternative remedies.
My Recommendation: Follow your doctor’s instructions for medication. But go beyond that. Install an air purifier in your home, notably in the bedroom. Use it 24/7. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet and don’t eat foods that you know to be allergenic. Avoid alcohol. The sulfites in wine, for instance, can trigger reactions. Caffeine can sometimes be aggravating in these situations. Drink decaffeinated green tea instead. Take anti-inflammatory supplements such as fish oil and curcumin, and immune boosters like colostrum and thymic protein A. Take a daily probiotic. And ground yourself.
- Tattersall MC, et al. Asthma Predicts Cardiovascular Disease Events. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2015;35:1520-1525.
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