As the prevalence of allergic rhinitis appears to be rising, there are increasing concerns about its impact on health, sleep, work and school performance, as well as unmet patient needs regarding its treatment according to experts presenting new data at the Annual Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).
“There is epidemiological evidence that the prevalence of allergic rhinitis is rising worldwide. Reports indicate that it has increased 100 percent in each of the last three decades in developed countries,” said Eli O. Meltzer, M.D., co-director, Allergy & Asthma Medical Group & Research Center, and clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of California in San Diego.
“With allergic disorders estimated to affect some 1.4 billion people globally, there appears to be a worldwide epidemic of allergic diseases. Studies suggest this is likely a consequence of our changing environment, reduced infections and genetic susceptibilities.”
According to Dr. Meltzer, the true prevalence of allergic rhinitis is unknown. Published prevalence rates differ because:
• It is largely undiagnosed
• There are differences in definitions of the condition
• There are differences in sampling frame and data collections methods
• The data are not collected by the federal government.
Current estimates indicate that more than 50 million people in the United States suffer from allergic rhinitis. It is the most prevalent chronic condition in patients under age 18. In one study, 42 percent of children had physician-diagnosed allergic rhinitis by 6 years of age.
Revision date: July 9, 2011
Last revised: by Sebastian Scheller, MD, ScD