Late-onset asthma linked to cardiovascular disease

People with asthma that emerges in adulthood may be at greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) than non-asthmatics, according to a new study.

Researchers followed 1,269 adults (average age 47 years) without CVD for a mean of 13.9 years. The average age of asthma diagnosis in the 111 people in the late-onset group (18 years of age or older) was 39.5 years. For the 55 patients with early-onset asthma, the average age of diagnosis was 8.9 years.

The 10-year rates of CVD events (heart attack, stroke, heart failure, angina, cardiac revascularisation and CVD death) were 12.7 per cent for those with late-onset asthma, 3.8 per cent for those with early-onset asthma and 8.9 per cent for non-asthmatics. After adjusting for confounders – such as age, sex and CVD risk factors – late-onset asthmatics were 57 per cent more likely to have CVD than non-asthmatics. The risk of CVD events did not differ between people with early-onset asthma and non-asthmatics.

Air pollution can trigger late-onset asthma and often leads to a rapid decline in lung function, both of which seem to be associated with CVD.

The authors suggest paying particular attention to CVD risk factors in patients with late-onset asthma.

(J Am Heart Assoc doi: 10.1161/JAHA.116.003448)

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