Q. Are asthma patients more likely to have a heart attack?

Answered by
Dr. Ahmed Goha
and medically reviewed by Dr. Sneha Kannan
This is a premium question & answer published on Apr 13, 2021

Hello doctor,

I am 47 years old, and I am a military veteran who has chronic asthma due to lead and asbestos exposure while working in the shipyards. I also have heart disease and hypertension. I had my heart attack when I was 32. I read a new release people with asthma are 60% more likely to have a heart-related event like a heart attack. I believe asthma and heart issues are related. I want to reach out to you for your opinion.



Welcome to

There is a connection between chest problems and heart-lung diseases that may lead to elevated pulmonary pressure with right ventricle overload and dysfunction. The major cause of coronary artery narrowing, which causes heart attack, is coronary atherosclerosis, likely due to genetic predisposition and increased incidence with risk factors such as smoking, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and increased lipid profile.

Thank you doctor,

There is no genetic predisposition or smoking. I first experienced hypertension while in the service around the same time as I was working in the shipyards on board a ship that contained lead-based paints. I was in direct contact with these areas. Hypertension continued after the service, and I eventually had a heart attack, three stents, and now have a loop monitor as well. I was able to show a correlation between lead and asbestos exposure and asthma, but I believe my heart issues are part of it as well.



Welcome back to

I can understand your concern. Some studies showed that asbestos and lead exposure are associated with cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke. The definite cause is unknown, likely the inflammatory response that induces endothelial dysfunction. It is the same for bronchial asthma and coronary artery disease with increased inflammatory mediators, which induce blood vessel endothelial dysfunction and heart attack, which is a different pathway than the traditional atherosclerotic pathway.

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