People with asthma and hay fever are more likely to have mental health problems, study reveals

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Around 11 per cent of people with these common allergic diseases develop a psychiatric disorder within a 15 year period, compared to just 6.7 per cent of people without the diseases

People with asthma and hay fever have an increased risk of developing a psychiatric disorder, a new study has revealed.

Researchers from Tri-Service General Hospital in Taiwan found that around 11 per cent of people with these common allergic diseases develop a psychiatric disorder within a 15 year period.

In comparison, only 6.7 per cent of people without these diseases develop a psychiatric disorder.

Asthma, allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and atopic dermatitis (eczema) are often referred to as the ‘three As.’

Dr Nian-Sheng Tzeng, who led the study, said: “As a clinician, I observed that some patients with the three ‘A’s appeared to suffer emotionally.

“Therefore, I wanted to clarify whether these allergic diseases are associated with psychiatric disorders.”

In the study, the researchers used a large database of health insurance claims in Taiwan, covering a 15 year period.

The researchers identified 46,647 people in the database with allergic diseases and 139,941 without.

Their analysis revealed that over the 15 year period, 10.8 per cent of people with allergic diseases developed a psychiatric disorder, compared with 6.7 per cent of those with no allergic disease.

 

Delving deeper into the data, the researchers also found that people with eczema had a lower risk of developing a psychiatric disorder, while those with asthma and hay fever had a higher risk.

The team also found that using certain asthma medications was associated with a lower risk of psychiatric disorders in people with asthma.

While the reason for this correlation remains unclear, the researchers suggest it may be to do with the inflammation caused by these allergic diseases.

The team hopes to carry out further studies to determine whether this is the case.

Dr Tzeng added: “We would like to let clinicians who care for patients with allergic diseases know that their risk for psychiatric diseases may be higher.

“Assessing their emotional condition and monitoring their mental health could help to avoid later psychiatric problems.”

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