Well-known triggers of asthma attacksYou probably know that airborne irritants are considered common triggers for asthma attacks. The CDC urges those with asthma to avoid smoke, car exhaust, mold, etc. Those warnings are consistent with the commonly-held (and accurate) notion that air quality is a big factor in the asthma picture.
Asthma and fast foodKnowing the connection between asthma and foul air, I was surprised to read a recent study that links asthma and fast food! How could fast food cause asthma? Not sure, but the link seems to be real. The study that suggests this connection is huge.
Severe asthma linked to eating fast food 3 or more times per weekPhilippa Ellwood at the University of Auckland in New Zealand surveyed food and health data from more than a half-million people in dozens of different countries. Respondents included 13- and 14-year-old students, and the parents of 6-7-year-olds. The respondents were asked to write down the type and frequency of food eaten over a 12-month period. After analyzing the survey results, Ellwood and her colleagues found an increased risk of "severe asthma" in adolescents and children who consumed fast food three or more times per week. The link between asthma and fast food was consistent regardless of the child's gender or family income.
Fast food also linked to eczema, nasal congestion, red eyesThe survey also revealed a connection between the consumption of fast food and severe eczema in both age groups of children. The study found as well a link between fast food consumption and "nasal congestion, itchy or runny nose, sneezing and red eyes" - symptoms we often associate with an allergy to airborne irritants.
How could fast food cause asthma?Ellwood did not analyze the cause of the link between fast food and asthma, but reported that "biologically plausible" causes could include the high levels of saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, sodium,carbohydrates and sugar in fast food.
The published report didn't say this, but I'm wondering if weight gain may be part of the story. High consumption of fast food is known to be associated with weight gain. And weight gain has been reported to increase asthma symptoms.