|Allergy and Asthma Newsletter
February 6, 2017
|When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
-- Viktor Frankl
|In this Issue|
Sleepless Nights Linked to Asthma Later in Life
Adults with chronic insomnia 3 times more likely to develop the respiratory disorder, study suggests
THURSDAY, Feb. 2, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Insomnia may increase adults' risk of asthma, a new study suggests.
People with chronic sleep struggles were three times more likely to develop asthma than those without insomnia, researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found.
"Insomnia, defined as having difficulties initiating or maintaining sleep, or having poor sleep quality, is common among asthma patients, but whether insomnia patients have a higher risk of developing asthma at a later stage has not been thoroughly investigated," said study co-author Linn Beate Strand.
The study included data from nearly 18,000 people, aged 20 to 65, in Norway. The researchers found that people who said they had difficulty falling asleep "often" or "almost every night" had a 65 percent and 108 percent increased risk, respectively, of developing asthma over 11 years.
People who said they woke too early and couldn't get back to sleep "often" or "almost every night" had a 92 percent and 36 percent increased risk, respectively, of asthma. And those who had poor quality sleep at least once a week had a 94 percent increased risk of developing asthma, the findings showed.
However, the study doesn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship between insomnia and asthma. Further research is required to confirm the findings, Strand said.
About 300 million people worldwide have asthma, a chronic respiratory disorder characterized by wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Known risk factors include smoking, obesity and air pollution.
"As insomnia is a manageable condition, an increased focus on the adverse health effects of insomnia could be helpful in the prevention of asthma," Strand said in a news release from the European Lung Foundation.
According to study lead author Ben Brumpton: "A key finding in our study is that those people with chronic insomnia had more than three times the risk of developing asthma, compared to those without chronic insomnia, which suggests that any changes in the body due to insomnia may accumulate and result in more severe harmful effects on the airways."
Brumpton is also affiliated with Norway's Trondheim University Hospital, in the department of thoracic and occupational medicine.
Recent research also suggests that depression and anxiety may be associated with adults' risk of developing asthma, according to background notes with the study.
The study was published Feb. 1 in the European Respiratory Journal.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more on asthma.
Flu Shots Are Worth It
Vaccine most important for young kids, seniors, people with chronic disease, women before and after pregnancy, expert says
WEDNESDAY, Dec. 28, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- The flu can be a serious threat to your health, but you can protect yourself by getting a flu shot, health experts say.
"The flu shot can reduce the risk of hospitalization and severe disease due to the influenza virus in addition to reducing the incidence or severity," said Kevin Harrod. He's a professor in the department of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
The flu vaccine is especially beneficial to children, the elderly, people with underlying chronic disease, such as heart disease, and women during and after pregnancy, he added.
About 970,000 Americans were hospitalized due to the flu in 2014, and more than 40 million were affected by flu-related illnesses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
During recent flu seasons, up to 90 percent of flu-related deaths have occurred in people 65 and older.
This year's vaccine protects against flu viruses that experts predict will be most common. Those include two influenza A viruses (H1N1 and H3N2) and select influenza B viruses, Harrod said.
"While getting the flu shot may not keep you from getting the flu, it will limit the severity and duration of the illness, and provide you with some protection against future infections in subsequent seasons," Harrod said in a university news release.
Even when the vaccine is a "bad match" for the flu strains that develop, it offers partial protection, he added.
"One's immune system can make antibodies that still recognize and bind to the influenza virus even when new strains emerge unexpectedly," Harrod explained.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on flu vaccination.
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