Allergy, Asthma, and ADHD

Is there a link?

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Many parents have suspected that their child’s ADHD was allergy related. Research published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology now suggests a potential link between allergy, asthma and ADHD in children. The researchers found an increased risk of ADHD in boys who have a history of allergy or asthma.

Specialists report the number of children presenting with all three conditions is increasing in the United States.

“We found there is an increased risk of ADHD in boys with a history of asthma and an even stronger risk associated with milk intolerance,” said lead author Eelko Hak.

Statistically significant data reported that 34 percent of the ADHD children had asthma and 35 percent had an allergic disorder.

The study suggests medications used to treat asthma and allergies may be associated with an increased ADHD risk.

The study presents another case of antecedence; which comes first, the ADHD or the asthma? The ADHD or the allergy? The ADHD or the allergy or asthma medicine? The study does not answer these questions.

From a genetic standpoint, the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology tells us that allergy and asthma often run in families. The child of parents who have an allergy has a 75 percent chance of being allergic. In contrast, if neither parent has allergy, the child has only a 10 to 15 percent chance of developing an allergy.

Allergists also know allergies and asthma are linked. An estimated 60 to 80 percent of children with asthma also have an allergy.

What’s the bottom line? Be alert to note whether your child has both asthma or allergies and ADHD. Carefully collaborate with your physician to see if your asthma or allergy medication is causing ADHD symptoms. Be certain that the allergy is not itself causing ADHD symptoms. The more information you have, the better plan of action you can develop.