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.
Revision date: July 5, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD