Asthma Does Not Necessarily Mean Food Allergies

APRIL 22, 2012
Eileen Oldfield, Associate Editor
A study found that participants with asthma had fewer reactions during food challenge tests than those without the condition.

Although people with food allergies tend to have asthma as well, having asthma does not lead to more failures on tests for food allergies, according to the results of a study presented on March 4, 2012, at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology in Orlando, Florida.
 
The study, conducted by researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin and the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, compared the results of food allergy tests for 105 participants—32 who had been diagnosed with asthma and 73 who had not. (All of the participants either had established allergies or had previous reactions to food.) The allergy tests, called oral food challenges, involved consuming different types of food to determine whether they caused a reaction.
 
“We wanted to review the results of food challenges because the tendency may be to avoid them due to concern of a reaction, and this is especially true in patients with a history of asthma,” Carrie M. Lee, RN, MSN, APNP, the study’s lead author, said in a press release.
 
The authors compared food reaction rates from patients diagnosed with asthma with those without the disease. Reactions included itching, vomiting, hives, and coughing or wheezing. Of the patients with asthma, 12.5% had a food reaction compared with 20.5% of the patients without asthma.
 
“A diagnosis of asthma was not associated with a higher food challenge failure rate, which suggests that food challenges should be encouraged in this population,” Monica Vasudev, MD, the study’s senior author, said in the press release.

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