Research into asthma & lupus
A study published in 2014 explored the connection between asthma and lupus. The researchers shared in the exposition that there may be “immunologic similarities between allergies and autoimmunity.” Some studies have shown connections between lupus and atopic disorders like asthma, rhinitis conjunctivitis, and dermatitis.
The goal of research was to expand the existing literature using a retrospective cohort study. These types of studies use large datasets, typically provided by a large insurer. For this study, the data came from the National Health Insurance (NHI) system of Taiwan. Taiwan has a single-pay program that serves 99% of the 23.74 million Taiwanese people.
13,072 People with lupus were included in the trial. All participants were part of a SLE-certified illness program in Taiwan that required a valid lupus diagnosis.
52,288 controls were matched to ensure similar age and sex ratios.
The average age at the start of the trial was 35 years old for both groups.
Females made up 87.9% of both groups.
The study lasted for 11 years, but patients were followed up with if during that time they had a new diagnosis of asthma.
The researchers concluded that people with lupus (SLE) have a significantly higher chance of developing asthma when compared to healthy control participants. Even after adjusting for variation, Lupus Warriors were more than 2.5 times as likely to get asthma.
Additionally, there were differences at baseline (prior to the follow-up period). Asthma was 1% more prevalent among the cohort that had SLE. And, the lupus group had significantly greater incidence of the following co-morbid conditions:
- chronic sinusitis
- gastroesophageal reflux disease
- obstructive sleep apnea
The researchers noted the potential issues with their study. Te NHI data used did not include information on smoking habits, which have been linked to the development of asthma. Nor did the researchers have access to body-mass index data, drug history data, or family history data — all of which may be risk factors.