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Higher Risk of Asthma in children with autoimmune disease

A new study has found that children with some autoimmune diseases have an increased risk of asthma. In the study, Dr. Jukka Kero of Ruprecht-Karls-University at Heidelberg in Germany and colleagues//looked at health records for all children born in Finland in 1987, including more than 60,000 youngsters.The team checked the prevalence of asthma in children with three autoimmune conditions : celiac disease, type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

Celiac disease is an inherited inability to digest the wheat protein gluten. It can lead to digestive problems, muscle wasting and lethargy. Rheumatoid arthritis is a debilitating condition in which the immune system attacks the tissue lining the joints. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas are destroyed, making it necessary for a person to take injections of the blood-sugar-regulating hormone.

Kero and colleagues found that 25% of children with celiac disease had asthma, compared with about 3% of children without celiac disease. While 10% of children with rheumatoid arthritis also had asthma, only 3% of children without rheumatoid arthritis did. Asthma was also more common among children with type 1 diabetes than among those who did not have this condition, but the difference was not statistically significant.

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