An estimated 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma, a chronic disease marked by recurrent attacks of breathlessness and wheezing as the lining of the lungs’ bronchial tubes swells and narrows the airways. A new study suggests that a vitamin D deficiency – a common problem — increases the likelihood of flare-ups in people whose condition cannot be sufficiently controlled with medication. Rather than adding more pharmaceuticals, such people may want to have their vitamin D levels checked and add supplementation if necessary.
A team led by Dr. Ronit Confino-Cohen of the Allergy and Clinical Immunology Unit at Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba came to this conclusion after analyzing the medical records of nearly four million members of Clalit Health Services, Israel’s largest healthcare provider. They zeroed in on records of 307,900 patients age 22 to 50 whose vitamin D levels were documented between 2008 and 2012. Of those, some 21,000 also were diagnosed with asthma. Looking at the 21,000 records, they discovered that those with a vitamin D deficiency were 25 percent more likely than other asthmatics to have had at least one flare-up in the recent past, according to results recently published in the journal Allergy by Confino-Cohen and her colleague Arnon Goldberg, with Becca Feldman and Ilan Brufman of the Clalit Research Institute.
Confino-Cohen, who is on the faculty of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler medical school, says that most of the existing data regarding vitamin D and asthma came from pediatric studies and was inconsistent. “Our present study is unique because the study population of young adults is very large and ‘uncontaminated’ by other diseases,” she explains.
The researchers found that vitamin D-deficient asthmatics were at a higher risk of an asthma attack if their condition was uncontrolled – defined as being prescribed at least five rescue inhalers, one prescription of oral corticosteroids or visiting the doctor for asthma at least four times in a single year. (via Israel21c)
[Photo: James Heilman M. D. / WikiCommons ]