Comorbidities of asthma: current knowledge and future research needs

Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2013 Jan;19(1):36-41. doi: 10.1097/MCP.0b013e32835b113a.


Purpose of review: Asthma is often associated with different comorbidities, mainly gastro-oesophageal reflux disease and allergic rhinitis, but also obesity, depression, diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease, which may affect its clinical intensity and severity. The prevalence of these comorbidities varies tremendously between studies. Nevertheless, it imposes a significant reflection on the need to explore the phenomenon in depth.

Recent findings: Both clinical and basic studies have established that inflammation plays a vital role in the initiation and progression of several comorbidities. However, the role of systemic inflammation in asthma is still unclear. Understanding mechanism(s) that link(s) asthma and its comorbid diseases is essential to design an effective therapeutic approach.

Summary: In the future, researchers must identify the weight of any comorbidity in patients with asthma, find the true mechanism(s) that link(s) it to asthma and act on these mechanisms that probably create a vicious circle. Conversely, we do not think it reasonable that the generalization of treatment with a holistic approach might affect the link(s) between asthma and its comorbidities.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Comorbidity*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Prevalence