Child food allergies linked to asthma

May 19, 2011 at 11:37 PM
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MADISON, N.J., May 19 (UPI) -- Food allergies are common in infants and toddlers, but dust, ragweed and mold allergies are more common in teens and adults, U.S. researchers say.

Preliminary results of the Quest Diagnostics Health Trends Report, Allergies Across America, are based on laboratory testing from more than 2 million U.S. patient visits.

The findings reveal a pattern of allergen sensitivity consistent with the "allergy march," a medical condition by which allergies to foods in early childhood heighten the risk for the development of additional and more severe allergy-related conditions, including asthma, later in life, the study says.

Study investigator Dr. Harvey W. Kaufman, senior medical director at Quest Diagnostics, says the findings reveal patients with asthma who were tested for allergies were 20 percent more likely to have an allergy -- particularly to indoor allergens like mold and house dust mites -- compared to patients tested without asthma.

The findings support medical guidelines recommending those with asthma identify and minimize potential allergens that could aggravate the disease, Kaufman says.

"Allergy and asthma often go hand in hand, and the development of asthma is often linked to allergies in childhood via the allergy march," Kaufman says in a statement. "Given the growing incidence of asthma in the United States, our study underscores the need for clinicians to evaluate and treat patients, particularly young children, suspected of having food allergies in order to minimize the prospect that more severe allergic conditions and asthma will develop with age."

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