Are persons with asthma at risk for other proinflammatory disorders? Yes, say researchers from the Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center in Rochester, Minn, who found that asthma is associated with the development of diabetes mellitus and coronary artery disease. However, there was no association between asthma and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBS).1
Their retrospective cohort study enrolled 2392 asthmatic persons and 4784 age- and gender-matched nonasthmatic controls in the Rochester area between 1964 and 1983. Researchers calculated age- and gender-adjusted incidence rates of IBS, RA, diabetes, and coronary artery disease by using medical index codes.
The incidence of diabetes in nonasthmatic persons was 104 per 100,000 compared with 138.4 per 100,000 in asthmatic persons. For heart disease, the incidence in nonasthmatic persons was 134 per 100,000 versus 188.6 per 100,000 in asthmatic persons.
"While it's important for clinicians to be aware of the increased risks of coronary artery disease and diabetes in asthmatics, these findings should be interpreted cautiously given the preliminary nature," noted study author Young J. Juhn, MD, MPH. "Given the significant proportion of people affected by asthma, we need to continue to carefully monitor the potential impact of asthma epidemiology on the epidemiology of other chronic diseases."