the inflammation of the nasal membranes from allergies, afflicts
approximately one-quarter of all people in industrialized
nations. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, affects a similar
percentage of people and increases risks for multiple health
problems and death. A study in the American Journal of
Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine showed there may
be a relationship between the two conditions.
Approximately 300 Parisian adults participated in the study,
which compared blood pressure levels and presence of hypertension
in individuals with and without rhinitis. Participants who
had hay fever or any major allergies that caused a stuffy
nose were considered to have rhinitis.
Researchers found that the systolic blood pressure was significantly
higher (approximately 7 mm Hg) in men with rhinitis than in
men without the condition, even after taking into account
other risk factors. Hypertension was two-and-a-half times
more likely in men with rhinitis than in those without it.
There was no significant relationship between rhinitis and
hypertension in women.
The reason for the relationship between rhinitis and high
blood pressure in unknown, although researchers speculate
it may have to do with sleeping problems (e.g., snoring or
obstructive sleep apnea) caused by the condition. Men suffering
from rhinitis or any form of nasal allergy should have their
blood pressure checked often by a physician.
Kony S, Zureik M, et al. Rhinitis is associated with increased
systolic blood pressure in men: A population-based study.
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
2003:167, pp. 538-543.
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