Dr. Jinny Chang of The Methodist Hospital said about 10 percent of people with asthma and one-third of asthmatics with chronic sinus inflammation have aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease.
Although they might have been able to take aspirin previously, most are now unable to take it without suffering an asthma attack or other respiratory symptoms, Chang said.
"More than half of U.S. children are exposed to secondhand smoke, and this study adds to the evidence that it is a health threat," Chang said in a statement. "This study shows it also is associated with aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease,
The study included a total of 520 people: 260 patients who had asthma and aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease and their spouses, who did not have asthma or aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease.
In the study, compared with those without aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease, those with the condition were more than three times as likely to have been exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke as children and were five times as likely to have been exposed during childhood and adulthood.
Smokers were more than one and a half times more likely to have aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease than those who never smoked, the study said.
The findings are scheduled to be published in the January issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
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