As the seasons change, so do the allergens in the air. For anyone with seasonal allergies, springtime can mean weeks or months of sneezing, coughing, and itchy eyes. However, recent research by the American College of Cardiology has also shown a potential link between seasonal allergies and heart health.
This may seem like an unlikely connection, but there are several reasons why seasonal allergies could affect your heart. Let’s take a closer look at what this could mean for you.
Inflammation is a natural immune response that occurs when you encounter a foreign body like a virus, bacteria, or in this case, an allergen. So, it’s important to note that inflammation plays a very important role in your overall cardiovascular health.
If you don’t keep inflammation at bay, it can become a chronic condition and contribute to a range of health problems, including heart disease.
In a recent study published by the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, they found that people with seasonal allergies had higher levels of C-reactive protein in their blood, an indicator of inflammation.
This suggests that allergies may contribute to chronic inflammation, which could in turn increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Another way that seasonal allergies could affect your heart is by increasing your blood pressure, according to a study done by the American College of Cardiology. When you have an allergic reaction, your body releases histamine, a chemical that causes your blood vessels to dilate.
This can lower your blood pressure, but in some cases, the body responds by increasing the heart rate to compensate. Additionally, some allergy medications can also increase blood pressure.
Over time, this could put extra strain on your heart and increase the risk of heart disease.
Lastly, seasonal allergies can contribute to sleep apnea, a condition where breathing stops and starts abruptly while you sleep.
Sleep apnea has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease, as noted by the American Heart Association, as it can lead to oxygen deprivation and increased blood pressure.
This means that allergy symptoms like congestion and nasal obstruction can make sleep apnea worse by reducing airflow through the nose and throat. In sum, this can lead to further disrupted sleep and other health problems.
What You Can Do
Even if you regularly suffer from seasonal allergies, there are still things you can do to protect your heart health. Here are some helpful tips:
- Manage your allergies: The best way to protect your heart from the effects of seasonal allergies is to manage your symptoms. This can include taking allergy medications or using allergy shots.
- Get enough rest: Getting enough rest is essential for heart health. If your allergies are interfering with your sleep, try using things that can ease your nasal congestion like a humidifier or saline rinse.
- Monitor your blood pressure: If you have seasonal allergies, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your blood pressure, especially if you’re taking allergy medications that can affect it.
In conclusion, dealing with seasonal allergies can be a nuisance, but it can also carry implications for your heart health. Understanding the links between allergies and heart health, and knowing how to manage your symptoms can help you protect your cardiovascular health year-round.
As always, if you have concerns about any of the above conditions, make sure to speak with your medical provider.