The role of food reactions in asthma has not been well described. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the types of self-reported reactions to foods in asthmatic patients, and to determine the association between self-reported food reactions and self-reported severity of asthma and asthma health care utilization. We characterized 914 patients, aged 3-55 years, in a large health maintenance organization. We characterized the patients according to demographic data (age, sex, occupation, SES, marital status) and their asthma according to duration, triggers, severity (symptoms, FEV1 percentage predicted) and presence of atopy. Overall, 414 (45.3%) participants, primarily women, reported adverse reactions to food, particularly milk, red wine, eggs, chocolate, and peanuts. Those with food reactions were more likely to report having ever been hospitalized for breathing problems than those without food reactions (31% vs. 22%, two-tailed p = 0.004) although their asthma was not worse. Self-reported food reactions, particularly in females, may be associated with increased asthma health care utilization, and such patients may require closer health care management.
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