Washington: A new study has found that patients with active asthma face twofold risk of having a heart attack.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic research compared 543 patients who had heart attacks with 543 non-heart attack patients of the same age and gender. These patients were treated at health care facilities in Rochester, Minnesota, between 2002 and 2006. The average age of patients was 67 years old, and 44 percent were women. Within the heart attack patient group, 81 patients had asthma, 44 of those with active asthma.
After controlling for traditional heart attack risk factors such as age, obesity, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes and high cholesterol , a history of coronary heart disease, and conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, results showed that patients with inactive asthma were not at an increased risk of heart attack, but those with active asthma were at a 70 percent risk, said senior author Young Juhn, M.D.
First author Duk Won Bang, M.D., Ph.D., said that patients with active asthma and a history of symptoms such as chest discomfort or shortness of breath should be evaluated for potential heart disease. Physicians should educate their asthma patients about the need to control asthma symptoms and use medications properly to prevent a heart attack.
Dr. Juhn added that lifesaving medications for acute heart attack and asthma attack are different; treatment for one potentially can make conditions worse or life-threatening for the other. Asthma patients need to be aware of this potential issue and should have a care plan for symptoms for asthma or heart attack.
The study has been presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2014.