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Having asthma increases a person’s risk of heart disease by a third, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association’s 41st Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention in San Antonio.
Researchers found that nonsmoking patients with asthma were 33% more likely to develop — or die of — heart disease than nonsmoking patients without asthma. "This means that asthmatic patients and their doctors should be particularly careful," says Carols Iribarren, MD, MPH, PhD, a researcher with Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, CA, and one of the study’s lead investigators, "Not only about managing their asthma, but also about managing cardiovascular risk factors such as blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar."
Iribarren’s research used data collected over the last 20 years among members of the Northern California Kaiser Permanente Medical Care program. "The reason to study nonsmokers is to rule out the strong influence of smoking on both asthma and heart disease," he notes. "This is an important question because asthma affects about 6% of the general population, and heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in the United States."
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in Bethesda, MD, and the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva recently released new international guidelines for the diagnosis, management, and prevention of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The guidelines were a cooperative effort called the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD), commonly referred to as the GOLD Guidelines. Among other recommendations, the guidelines emphasize the use of bronchodilators for symptom management in COPD. More information on the guidelines is available on www.goldcopd.com.