Asthma increases risk of heart attack and stroke, study finds

According to scientists, asthmatics are at an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.

They are twice as likely to have excessive plaque buildup in the arteries that carry blood to the brain than people without asthma.

Blockages in the carotid arteries are one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular disease and cause three-quarters of ischemic strokes.

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

He comes after the doctors urged asthmatics to keep their inhalers handybecause they could suffer an attack during sexual intercourse.

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

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

Participants were divided into three groups: people with persistent asthma, defined as needing daily medication, intermittent asthma, who had a history of the disease but did not need medication, and no asthma.

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

After adjusting for age, gender, 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 from the University of Wisconsin have warned that asthma increases the risk of suffering from heart disease and

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

“Addressing cardiovascular risk factors through lifestyle and behavioral adjustments can be a powerful preventive 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.”

A growing number of Americans are diagnosed with asthma each year, with the current number standing at 25 million, up a quarter from two decades ago.


Asthma is a common but incurable disease that affects the small tubes inside the lungs.

This can cause inflammation or swelling, which restricts the airways and makes 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 reappear in adulthood.

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

Treatment usually involves medications that are inhaled to calm the lungs.

Triggers for illness include allergies, dust, air pollution, exercise, and infections such as colds or flu.

If you think you or your child has asthma, you should see a doctor, as it can lead to more serious complications like fatigue or chest infections.

Source: ENM

Asthma is a common but incurable disease that affects the small tubes inside the lungs.

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

Severely affected people can control the condition by taking regular medication or using an inhaler to relieve symptoms.

In the new study, researchers studied 5,029 adults who participated in the Federal Multiethnic Atherosclerosis Study (MESA).

The participants were around 60 years old on average and had been recruited for the study since the year 2000.

Six in ten 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 previously been diagnosed with the disease, but did not need daily medication and it may be already in remission.

Another 4,532 did not have the condition.

Ultrasounds were done to determine the number of plaques in the carotid arteries.

The results showed that among persistent asthmatics, 67% had plaques, with around two on average.

By comparison, of those without asthma, 50.5% had plaques, about one of which was in the blood vessels.

Among people with intermittent asthma, 49.5% had plaques with an average of one in the vessels – which did not differ significantly from the non-asthmatic group.

Blood tests for inflammation also showed that people with persistent asthma had higher levels of inflammation than those without the disease.

Based on the results, the scientists warned that people with persistent asthma were at higher risk of heart disease and stroke.

The scientists undertook the study to determine if 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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