Published Online: May 4, 2016
Cardiovascular disease including myocardial infarction is the most common cause of death among adults in the US. Asthma is one of the five most burdensome diseases in the US affecting a large portion of Americans. However, the nature of the relationship between asthma and the risk of myocardial infarction is poorly understood.
In an original research paper by Bang et al published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, Juhn and colleagues investigated whether asthma increases the risk of acute myocardial infarction. Conducting a population-based case-control study of Olmsted County, Minnesota, adults aged 18 years and older, they compared the frequency of asthma between myocardial infarction cases and birthday- and gender-matched controls (1:1 matching) without a history of myocardial infarction. Asthma status was ascertained by predetermined criteria for asthma and categorizing into active vs. inactive asthma.
The authors found that, while inactive asthma did not increase the risk of myocardial infarction, active asthmatics had a significantly increased risk of myocardial infarction, almost more than twofold. This association was independent of asthma medications and persisted after adjustment for COPD. The study findings suggest that asthma might be an unrecognized risk factor for myocardial infarction, although the mechanism is uncertain. People with asthma and their caregivers need to be vigilant for symptoms of myocardial infarction, strive for optimal control of their asthma symptoms, and people with asthma should follow recommendations for heart-healthy lifestyles.
The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice is an official journal of the AAAAI, focusing on practical information for the practicing clinician.