The number of Americans diagnosed with asthma is up to 26 million and a new paper says a majority, nearly two-thirds or more of all asthmatics, also have an allergy. Asthma is frequently associated with children but 3 percent or more of adults 60 years and older also have it. The number may be higher, because older people did not grow up in a diagnosis culture, so asthma could be under-diagnosed in older adults.
The paper says that an astonishing 75 percent of asthmatic adults aged 20- to 40-years-old, and 65 percent of asthmatic adults aged 55 years and older, have at least one allergy. A total of 2,573 adults were considered in a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). A panel of 19 allergens was used to detect allergy among asthmatics.
"Allergists have known the prevalence of allergies among asthmatic children is high at 60 to 80 percent, but it was thought allergies were not as common in asthmatic adults," said allergist Paula Busse, MD, lead study author. "These findings are important, and can help lead to proper diagnosis and treatment."
According to the the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), more than 50 million Americans now have an allergy, a number which is well above prior levels, along with asthma numbers going upward, suggesting a link to allergists.
"It could be one of many creating this perfect storm for allergies," said allergist Richard Weber, MD, ACAAI president . "Other factors, such as the hygiene hypothesis, climate change and an increase in awareness and education can also be reasons for this growth."
Published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma&Immunology.