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Food allergies raise risk of asthma attacks
Date:10/3/2010

Food allergies are more common among people with asthma and may contribute to asthma attacks, according to one of the most comprehensive surveys of food allergies ever undertaken. 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 prevalent among children, males and non-Hispanic blacks.

"Our study suggests that food allergies may be an important factor, and even an under-recognized trigger for severe asthma exacerbations," said Dr. Liu. "People with a food allergy and asthma should closely monitor both conditions and be aware that they might be related."

The researchers, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), analyzed data from 8,203 people, aged 1 to greater than 60, who completed the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2005-2006, and had their blood tested for antibodies to four specific foods: peanuts, milk, eggs and shrimp.

"This study is very comprehensive in its scope," said Darryl Zeldin, MD, acting clinical director at the NIEHS and senior author on the paper. "It is the first study to use specific blood serum levels and look at food allergies across the whole life spectrum, from young children aged 1 to 5, to adults 60 and older."

Depending on the IgE antibody levels found in participants blood, they were categorized as sensitized to one or more of the foods or not sensitized. The sensitized participants were subdivided into those with an unlikely (10-20 percent), possible (50 percent) and likely (greater than 95 percent) chance of having food allergies.

Likely food allergies were twice as common among participants who had ever received an asthma diagnosis as among those with no asthma diagnosis.

The odds of having food allergies grew with increasing severity of asthma. Those who currently have asthma were 3.8 times as li
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Contact: William Allstetter
allstetterw@njhealth.org
303-398-1002
National Jewish Health
Source:Eurekalert

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