We’ve had that time of year that usually rolls around. We’re sneezing, coughing, stuffed up, and our allergies are just going berserk. Maybe it’s the pollen count or it’s the amount of ragweed, but you’re popping antihistamines nonetheless. However, did you know that your heart health and those annual allergies can actually be intertwined? Let’s take a look at how that little scratch in your throat may be tied into the shape of your ticker.
If you have a history of cardiac issues in your family, do not hesitate to make a visit to a cardiologist even at an early age to assess yourself for the long term. Be sure to ask around or type something like “Beverly Hills cardiologist” into a search engine to find the options available through your health insurance coverage. If you’re dealing with allergies seasonally, you may know what triggers them, and sometimes the symptoms and risk factors of those allergens can be associated with heart disease.
A study from the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania found that common allergies that bring on wheezing, sneezing and watery eyes could be next to join the list of factors linked to heart disease. Heart disease was present in 6% of adults, with 13% of those found in cases of wheezing that can be triggered. There were other risk factors at play, including age and asthma, that can inhibit the abilities of the blood vessels to prevent coronary disorders. While there is no clear cause and effect relationship, doctors have recommended lifestyle changes to possibly better address underlying health conditions like asthma that could inhibit cardiac and pulmonary health.
Some symptoms of a heart attack can be confused with those of allergic reactions. There have been a few studies that show a correlation between a cardiac episode and allergens triggering certain systems. One 2016 study from the American Journal of Epidemiology found the risk of having a heart attack was 5.5% higher on days when the highest pollen levels were compared to days with lower levels. The risk was highest in May when tree and grass pollen were at their peak. However, another 2016 study found that hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, significantly lowered those risks.
Working to reduce cardiovascular risk factors, through a healthy diet and exercise, can also help reduce the risk of a cardiac episode, while also helping to better breathing which can be crucial during allergy season. Individuals with high blood pressure or known heart disease are urged to be cautious with decongestants. Be sure to consult with a cardiologist or primary care physician before taking an over-the-counter medication for seasonal allergies.
Weakened Immune System
The truth is that allergies can impact the overall health of the immune system, limiting the abilities of the body to fight other illnesses. For example, juniper pollen allergy symptoms can trigger significant reactions like sinus infections or what’s referred to as “cedar fever”, a high fever that can come and go for individual patients based on each case. This can leave the body susceptible to other ailments that could trigger issues with cardiovascular disease.
Blockages within the heart can inhibit how the body is able to handle better circulation. Through preventive medicine, a better immune system can be built up to avoid the need for heart surgery or procedures for other conditions later down the line. Early prevention can help with personal care later down the line, as it is harder for an older immune system that is compromised to be able to handle even simple ailments like the flu. Allergies and cardiac health do intertwine but at the core, it’s about bettering overall health.