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The University of Virginia School of Medical researchers found that red meat allergy can put a person's heart at risk. The sensitivity to an allergen in red meat is linked by researchers with a buildup fatty plaque in the arteries of the heart, the buildup that might increase the risk of attacks and stroke.
The bite of the lone star tick could cause people to develop an allergic reaction to red meat. Even so, many people who are not exhibited to symptoms are still sensitive to the allergen found in the meat.
The allergen sensitivity, a sensitivity spread by tick bites was linked with the accrued plaque buildup, as measured by a blood test in new study by university's medical researchers.
The researchers stated that their finding is preliminary and further research was warranted
"This novel finding from a small group of subjects examined at the University of Virginia raises the intriguing possibility that asymptomatic allergy to red meat may be an under-recognized factor in heart disease," said study leader Coleen McNamara. "These preliminary findings underscore the need for further clinical studies in larger populations from diverse geographic regions."
The researchers looking at 118 patients determined that those sensitive to the meat allergen had 30 percent more plaque accumulation inside their arteries compared to those without the sensitivity. In further, the plaques had a higher percentage with features characteristic of unstable plaques that more likely to cause heart strokes.
People become sensitized to alpha-gal, with the meat allergy. People with a symptomatic form of the allergy can develop hives, stomach upset, breathing trouble or exhibit other symptoms after three to eight hours of consuming meat from mammals.
Umpteen people can be sensitive to alpha-gal and not develop symptoms.
UVA's new study suggested that doctors could develop a blood test to benefit people sensitive to the allergen. "This work raises the possibility that in the future a blood test could help predict individuals, even those without symptoms of red meat allergy, who might benefit from avoiding red meat. However, at the moment, red meat avoidance is only indicated for those with allergic symptoms," said researcher Jeff Wilson.
The study by the medical researchers appears in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.
By Sowmya Sangam