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Allergies Tied to Higher Coronary Heart Disease Risk

Researchers find link between common allergies, CHD in women younger than 50

THURSDAY, Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Common allergies may be linked to an increased risk for coronary heart disease (CHD), especially in women under the age of 50, according to research published in the Oct. 1 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Jongoh Kim, M.D., of the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, and colleagues used the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III to gather data on people with allergy symptoms for an investigation of a possible correlation between allergies and increased risk of CHD.

The researchers identified 8,653 individuals aged 20 or older with at least eight hours of overnight fasting, 5.9 percent of whom had CHD; 36.5 percent had no allergy symptoms, 45.9 percent had rhinoconjunctivitis, and 17.6 percent had wheezing. CHD was prevalent in 3.9 percent of those with no allergic symptoms, 4.8 percent of those with rhinoconjunctivitis, and 12.8 percent of those with wheezing. However, only in the group of women under age 50 were the odds ratios in rhinoconjunctivitis and wheezing significantly increased.

"Only women had a significantly increased risk of CHD from allergic symptoms. This finding is consistent with previous studies based on asthmatic patients. In general, allergic disease is more common in women after adolescence and it is thought that sex hormones modulate immune response," the authors write.

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