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Food allergy asthma link

Tuesday October 5th, 2010

People with food allergies are likely to be young, male and black - and suffer from asthma, according to a major study of the problem.

A US study of more than 8,000 people identified those with specific allergic reactions to peanuts, milk, eggs or shrimp.

The research links chronic asthma to food allergy - finding that people with asthma were nearly four times more likely than others to suffer reactions to the four foods. And an asthma sufferer with an allergy was nearly seven times as likely as other asthma patients to suffer a severe attack of the disease.

The findings, reported in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, seem to contradict recent genetic research, which suggested asthma and allergy might not have a common cause.

Researcher Dr Andrew Liu, of the University of Colorado, Denver, USA, said: "This study provides further credence that food allergies may be contributing to severe asthma episodes, and suggests that people with a food allergy and asthma should closely monitor both conditions and be aware that they might be related."

The researchers say that food allergies may remain undetected among high risk groups - as other studies of known sufferers have not shown it as being a problem among the same groups.

The research found 4.2 per cent of children aged between one and five suffering from allergies. This compared with 1.3 per cent amongst adults over the age of 60.

In total some 2.5 per cent of adults were found to have food allergies.

Dr Darryl Zeldin, of the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences said: "This study is very comprehensive in its scope. 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 one to five, to adults 60 and older."

Liu AH, Jaramillo R, Sicherer SH, Wood RA, Bock SA, Burks AW, Massing M, Cohn RD, Zeldin DC. National prevalence and risk factors for food allergy and relationship to asthma: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006. J Allergy Clin Immunol. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2010.07.026.

Tags: Allergies & Asthma | Child Health | Menís Health | North America

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