Some asthmatics learn the hard way that drinking alcohol can trigger the wheezing, coughing symptoms of an asthma attack.
WebMD published a report Monday saying that a new study lends credibility to that link, and suggests that chemicals, such as sulfite preservatives in wine, may be the cause of these attacks.
Of all the alcoholic drinks included in the study, wines were clearly the major offenders," said Hassan Vally, author of the study in the May issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
More than 350 members were included in the study, ranging in age from 18 to 83 years, with an average age of 48.
They were asked when their asthma was diagnosed, how severe it was, what typically triggered attacks, and what asthma medications they were taking. They were also questioned about whether they had ever had an allergic, allergic-like, or asthmatic reaction to any alcoholic drinks, said WebMD.
Specific drinks were listed: red and white wine, champagne, fortified wines (such as sherry and port), beer, and spirits (like brandy, whisky and vodka). A checklist of asthmatic symptoms was also included.
Overall, 43% of the respondents reported having allergic or allergic-like reactions to various alcoholic drinks. Thirty-three percent said alcohol had brought on asthma symptoms, with 26% saying asthma was the main adverse symptom they experienced after drinking.
Wines were the most frequent trigger, named by 38% of the respondents as causing allergic reactions and by 30% as causing asthma symptoms, the responses showed.
Red wine in particular was the biggest culprit, causing allergic reactions in 30% and asthmatic reactions in 24%. White wine caused allergy flare-ups in 26%, and asthma symptoms in 22% - Albawaba.com
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