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Allergies May Boost Severity of Lung Disease

FRIDAY, May 10 (HealthDay News) -- Hay fever and similar allergies increase the frequency and severity of respiratory problems in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a new study shows.

COPD is a progressive lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe.

In this study, researchers looked at more than 1,400 patients with COPD, and found that those with allergies were much more likely than those without allergies to wheeze, to have chronic cough and chronic phlegm, to awake during the night because of cough, and to have a worsening of COPD symptoms that required antibiotics or a visit to the doctor.

The study by the Johns Hopkins University researchers was published online May 10 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

The findings suggest that treating allergies or avoiding allergy triggers may help reduce the number and severity of respiratory problems in people with COPD, Dr. Nadia Hansel, an associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins Asthma and Allergy Center in Baltimore, said in a journal news release.

She added that current COPD treatment guidelines do not deal with the management of allergies and said additional research of the link between allergies and COPD is needed.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

SOURCE: American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, news release, May 10, 2013