Children with certain allergies are at double the risk of developing high blood pressure and cholesterol, a study conducted by researchers at Northwestern Medicine reported. The findings were published in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology

Asthma and hay fever in particular were linked to increased risk of heart disease even after controlling for obesity was factor into the situation. Dr. Jonathan Silverberg, an associate professor of dermatology, and his colleagues studied the link between cardiovascular risk factors and common allergies such as asthma, hay fever, and eczema. They used data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey which included 13,275 children. 

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Asthma was present in 14% of children, eczema in 12%, and hay fever in 16.6%. All three conditions were tied to increased rates of overweight or obesity. Study authors noted that inflammation occurring with asthma and hay fever may contribute to the higher rates of cardiovascular disease. Children with significant asthma are usually more sedentary, which may also contribute to increased blood pressure and cholesterol.

Study findings emphasize the need to screen these children more aggressively to not miss elevated cholesterol and blood pressure, researchers concluded. “There may be an opportunity to modify their lifestyles and turn this risk around,” said Dr. Silverberg.

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