Food allergies are more common in people who suffer from asthma and can cause asthma attacks, according to one of the most comprehensive survey ever undertaken of food allergy. National Jewish Health Associate Professor of Pediatrics Andrew H. Liu and his colleagues also report in the November 2010 Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology that food allergies are more common in children, men and people of non-Hispanic blacks.
“Our study shows that food allergy may be an important factor, and even trigger asthma under admitted for severe exacerbation,” said Dr Liu. “People with food allergies and asthma should closely monitor both the condition and realize that they may be related.”
The researchers, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), analyzed data from 8203 men, aged from 1 to more than 60, who completed the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2005-2006, and had their blood tested for antibodies to four certain foods:, nut milk, eggs and shrimp.
“This study is very comprehensive in its scope,” said Darryl Zeldin, MD, acting clinical director at NIEHS and senior author on the paper. “This is the first study using a specific serum level and see the whole spectrum of food allergies throughout life, from children aged 1 to 5, for adults 60 and older.”
Depending on the level of IgE antibodies found in the blood of participants, those categorized as sensitive or more sensitive to a lot of food or not. The participants were divided into sensitive are those who do not have a chance (10-20 percent), most likely (50 percent) and likely (greater than 95 percent) have food allergies. The possibility of food allergies are two times more common among participants who had received a diagnosis of asthma as among those without a diagnosis of asthma.
The possibility of having food allergies grows with increasing severity of asthma. Those who currently have asthma was 3.8 times more likely to have a food allergy as those who previously had been diagnosed with this disease but no longer has it. Those who have visited the emergency department for asthma in the past year nearly seven times more likely to have food allergies like people who have been diagnosed with asthma but did not visit the emergency department. Overall, 15.8 percent of participants who had visited the emergency department for asthma had IgE levels indicating possible food allergies or possible.
The researchers could not determine whether food allergies actually cause an asthma attack or if allergic asthma and food both manifestations of severe allergic profile. They speculated that food allergic reactions may be triggered in some people with asthma only when combined with weight training. Overall, the researchers estimate that 2.5 percent or 7.5 million Americans have food allergies. This estimate is lower than some estimates, but in line with many other people. Analysis of the level of actual research IgE antibodies to food in a large nationally representative sample to lend authority to the results. However, because allergy tests measure the potential of only four of the most common food allergies, the results may slightly underestimate the prevalence of food allergies as a whole, the authors wrote.
Children ages 1 to 19 is two times more likely to have food allergies as the general population. non-Hispanic blacks are three times more likely to have food allergies, and men are two times more likely to have food allergies. Black boys 4.4 times more likely to have a food allergy. Peanut allergy is the most common food allergies, affecting 1.3 percent of the population surveyed. Unlike milk and egg allergy, which reached a peak in children under 5, the highest peanut allergy among children aged 6 to 19 (2.7 percent).
National Jewish Health is known worldwide for the treatment of patients with respiratory disorders, cardiovascular, immune and related, and for groundbreaking medical research. Founded in 1899 as a nonprofit hospital, National Jewish remains the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to this disorder. Since 1998, U.S. News & World Report has ranked National Jewish the # 1 respiratory hospital in the nation.
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