Are people who have asthma more likely to have food allergies, too? I have had both for years, and I feel like they're related.
Answers from James T C Li, M.D., Ph.D.
Yes, it's common for people with food allergies to have asthma as well. However, the relationship between these two conditions is not well-understood.
Food and respiratory allergies are closely related. For example, sensitivity to proteins in pollen can coincide with allergic reactions to fruits and vegetables that contain similar proteins.
Some substances that cause allergic reactions can also trigger an asthma episode. These allergens may be things you inhale, such as dust, but they can also be food items, such as shellfish.
A study of children in urban areas found that 24 percent of those with asthma had at least one food allergy as well. Children who had both asthma and food allergies experienced more-severe asthma episodes. They also had a higher risk for hospitalization. These associations were even stronger for children with multiple food allergies.
Given their relationship, be alert for possible food allergies if you have asthma.
March 04, 2014
- The impact of food allergy on asthma in children. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/global/latest-research-summaries/New-Research-from-JACI-In-Practice/food-allergy-asthma-in-children.aspx. Accessed Jan. 24, 2014.
- Ozol d, et al. Asthma and food allergy. Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine. 2008;14:9.
- Asthma overview. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=8&cont=5. Accessed Jan. 24, 2014.
- Friedlander JL, et al. Food allergy and increased asthma morbidity in a school-based inner-city asthma study. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice. 2013;5:479.