Why Does Our Health Have So Many If's?

If your nose runs when you are exercising, you’re one of the 10%-20% of Americans with “exercise induced rhinitis”. EIR is much like allergic rhinitis, also called hay fever or nasal allergies; and the symptoms are similar – congestion, sneezing, itchiness and runny nose. It is more common in people who have allergies and in people who exercise outdoors. It’s also more common in winter. Although the exact cause of this condition isn’t known, medical research is pointing to pollution, specifically nitrogen dioxide found in car exhaust. When cars run, so do EIR noses.

If you have acid reflux, you’re one of the 60 million Americans who experience it at least monthly. However, 15 million experience it daily. A Norwegian study conducted from 1995 to 2009 found the number of people who frequently experienced symptoms almost doubled in the past decade. More women have acid reflux, but it’s more common in both sexes toward middle age. Too much stomach acid can scar the esophagus and the acid can increase the risk of esophageal cancer if chronic and untreated. Although many researchers attribute the increase in acid reflux to the increase in obesity, that explanation “wears thin” with some Americans.

If you get a cat, your risk for cat allergy almost doubles. An Italian study included 6,300 people ages 20-44 who weren’t allergic to cats. Nine years later they were tested again. Although 231 had become sensitized to cats, those who got a cat during the study were 1.8 times likelier to develop cat allergy. Those who already had allergies or asthma were 3-4 times likelier to develop cat allergy. However, 89 people who had a cat or got one during the study didn’t let their cat into their bedroom. None of them developed cat allergy. None of them “catnapped”.

If you are a woman, clogged arteries present different dangers than to men. A study presented to the Radiological Society of North America included 480 patients – average age 55 – with acute chest pain. By combining CT angiographies with 13 months of follow-up, scientists discovered the risk of major cardiac events were significantly higher in women with large amounts of plaque buildup and extensive hardening of the arteries. Men had greater risk of heart attack or coronary bypass surgery when their arteries contained “non-calcified plaque” – fatty deposits that accumulate deep in artery walls. Doctors wanting to customize care will find this information “heartening”.

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