The Link Between Asthma & Heart Disease

A male doctor holding a piece of paper and pointing to it as he talks with his female patient, who is looking at the paper

( — Doctors have observed a link between asthma and an increase risk of heart disease but, as with many medical findings, the reasons for the connection aren’t clear.

“No one knows what the link is between heart disease and asthma, but it is a statistical fact,” says Russell B. Leftwich, MD, a physician specializing in allergy and immunology in Nashville, Tenn., and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. “Even when you take away smoking and other risk factors, there is still an increased risk of heart disease in people with asthma.”

Doctors have a variety of theories about the possible link between asthma and heart disease including:

• Genes. One theory suggests some kind of genetic link. “There are 29 genes known to be associated with asthma,” says Leftwich. “Perhaps it’s one of those genes.”