When it comes to allergic disease, or atopy as the scientists like to call it, there are 3 main types of allergies that often go hand in hand. They are:
If you have one of those kinds of allergies, it's likely that you also have at least one of the other two, or had them at some point in your life. But new research from Australian researchers that was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology recently suggests a stronger connection.
Researchers have uncovered evidence that eczema in childhood may predict a likelihood of developing asthma by middle age. Australian scientists began gathering data 40 years ago from 7-year old children in Tasmania who had eczema, using surveys and physical exams.
What they have found over the ensuing decades is that there really is what has been called an "atopic march", from eczema to nasal allergies to asthma. In fact, kids who'd had eczema were more than twice as likely to develop asthma by their teen years and 63% as likely to have it by adulthood.
But those findings, in and of themselves, only support previous study findings. What's even more exciting is that this study lends support to a theory that eczema may be a causative factor in asthma. Scientists theorize that certain immune cells involved in the allergic response in eczema may migrate from the skin into the airways, setting the person up for development of asthma.
If that theory does prove true, then it could be that aggressive treatment of eczema during early childhood might actually reduce the risk of developing asthma later on in life.
Published On: September 17, 2008