February 13, 2006

Asthmatic adults at risk for other chronic illness

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Adults with asthma are more
likely than those in the general population to report a number
of other chronic medical conditions, including cancer, diabetes
and heart disease, according to a report in the current issue
of the journal Chest.

"Asthma and allergy-related diseases are usually associated
with lower cancer levels. However, our study found an increased
cancer risk among older patients with asthma," lead author Dr.
Robert J. Adams, from the University of Adelaide in South
Australia, said in a statement.

The findings are based on a population-based survey of
adults living in one of three Australian states. Of the 10,080
subjects surveyed, 7,619 interviews were completed. Eleven
percent had doctor-diagnosed asthma.

Adults with asthma were nearly twice as likely as other
people to have diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, stroke,
cancer, or osteoporosis, the report indicates. The presence of
another chronic medical condition in asthmatics was associated
with significant declines in normal levels of activity and
quality of life. The increased rate of other illnesses seemed
to only apply to adults older than 35 years of age.

Doctors who treat older adults for asthma need to be aware
that other chronic conditions may exist, which should be
considered when developing asthma treatment plans, study
co-author Dr. Richard E. Ruffin, also from the University of
Adelaide, advised in a statement.

"Young adults with asthma, who are at risk for developing
other chronic conditions, also should be targeted
for...prevention of these conditions."

SOURCE: Chest, February 2006.