ADHD Rates Higher in Children with Asthma and Allergies

allergiesWith ADHD rates at an all-time high, scientists have been working hard at finding out why rates are constantly inclining, and what can be done about it. Recently, a study from Boston and the Netherlands may have discovered a potential link between ADHD risks and asthma or allergies in children.

Published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the new study took a look at the health and medical history of 884 boys with ADHD and 3,536 boys without. Pulled from the UK General Practice Research Database (GPRD), the study was case-controlled and specifically examined the prevalence of a history of allergies or asthma in both groups of children.

Overall, about 34% of boys with a history of asthma were diagnosed with ADHD, and about 35% had an allergy disorder. Boys that did have ADHD were also more likely to have had impetigo, cow’s milk intolerance and prescriptions for antihistamines, respiratory corticosteroids, topical steroids, antibacterials and antifungals.

Although the study did not determine whether it was the conditions or the medications which may be responsible for the link, the study authors say there is a definite link between these conditions.

“Despite possible limitations inherent to observational studies, this study lends support to the emerging evidence that childhood ADHD is associated with atopic diseases and impetigo,” the study authors commented in the publication.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology states that conditions like asthma and allergies are often higher for children that have parents who also suffer from the same conditions.

Could this mean that children with parents who suffer from either asthma or allergies may be at a higher risk for developing ADHD? And since a previous study from the Medical Research Council Centre at Cardiff University found a genetic link of ADHD between parents and children, could those same families be further compounding the issue for generations to come?

Only time will tell for certain, but for now, Gailen Marchall, editor-in-chief of Annals of Allergy and Immunology says that parents should not take their children off of asthma or allergy medications.

“Further research is needed to understand why there appears to be an increased risk of developing ADHD in children with allergy and asthma,” Marchall said. “Medications for these conditions far outweigh the risks, and can be life-saving in some conditions. Treatment should not be stopped, unless advised by a board-certified allergist.”

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About the author


Kate Givans is a wife and a mother of five—four sons (one with autism) and a daughter. She’s an advocate for breastfeeding, women’s rights, against domestic violence, and equality for all. When not writing—be it creating her next romance novel or here on Growing Your Baby—Kate can be found discussing humanitarian issues, animal rights, eco-awareness, food, parenting, and her favorite books and shows on Twitter or Facebook. Laundry is the bane of her existence, but armed with a cup of coffee, she sometimes she gets it done.

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