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The Relationship Between Asthma and Cardiovascular Disease

An Examination of the Framingham Offspring Study
Published:December 11, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chest.2020.11.053

      Background

      Although asthma has been suggested as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), robust longitudinal evidence of this relationship is limited.

      Research Question

      Using Framingham Offspring Cohort data, the goal of this study was to longitudinally examine the association between asthma and lifetime risk of CVD while controlling for cardiovascular risk factors included in the Framingham Risk Score.

      Study Design and Methods

      Data were analyzed from a prospective population-based cohort of 3,612 individuals, ages 17 to 77 years, who participated in Framingham Offspring Study examinations from 1979 to 2014. Asthma was defined based on physician diagnosis during study interviews. Incident CVD included myocardial infarction, angina, coronary insufficiency, stroke, transient ischemic attack, and heart failure. Time-dependent Cox regression models were used to evaluate the relationship between asthma and CVD incidence.

      Results

      Overall, 533 (15%) participants had a diagnosis of asthma and 897 (25%) developed CVD during the course of the study. Unadjusted analyses revealed that asthma was associated with increased CVD incidence (hazard ratio, 1.40; 95% CI, 1.17-1.68). Cox regression also showed an adjusted association between asthma and CVD incidence (hazard ratio, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.07-1.54) after controlling for established cardiovascular risk factors.

      Interpretation

      This prospective analysis with > 35 years of follow-up shows that asthma is a risk factor for CVD after adjusting for potential confounders. When assessing risk of cardiovascular disease, asthma should be evaluated and managed as a risk factor contributing to morbidity and mortality.

      Key Words

      Abbreviations:

      CVD (cardiovascular disease), FOS (Framingham Offspring Study), HR (hazard ratio)
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