Respiratory allergy: a chronic condition that can worsen over time

respiratory allergy is the result of a malfunction in the immune system which leads the body to react abnormally to contact with allergens, which are harmless airborne substances. The main respiratory allergens are house dust mites, pollen, animal hair and mould. When inhaled, they can induce inflammatory reactions in the nose, eyes, throat and bronchial tubes, these are referred to as “rhinitis” and/or “allergic asthma”. Respiratory allergy is a condition that can worsen over time and can involve complications.

In Europe, one person in five affected by a respiratory allergy suffers from a serious form of the condition, referred to as “moderate to severe”1. The allergy can cause complications within the areas of “ENT” (ear, nose and throat) and the lower respiratory tract (bronchial tubes):

·         Inflammation and infections: ear infections, sinusitis, tonsillitis, particularly in children.2

·         Sleep apnoea – and its consequences: disturbed sleep, fatigue…3

·         Asthma in 40% of cases. 80% of asthma cases are allergic in origin.4

Respiratory allergies sufferers

In the most severe cases, allergic symptoms affect sleep quality 5 and lead to fatigue and poor concentration.6

Almost 70% of patients suffering from allergic rhinitis believe that their condition disrupts their daily life.7

Children with allergies can experience difficulties in their learning due to their condition. The effects of the allergy (irritability, fatigue, poor attention span, problems with concentration, sleep problems and drowsiness during the day) can affect the short-term memory of children with allergies.8

Respiratory allergies affect productivity, so much so that they are the leading cause of loss of productivity around the world, ahead of cardiovascular diseases.9,1

 

[1]  1 WAO White Book on Allergy, Update 2013
[2]  Sih T, Mion O. Allergic rhinitis in the child and associated comorbidities. Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2010: 21: 107–113.
[3]  Koinis-Mitchell D, Craig T, Esteban CA, Klein RB..Sleep and allergic disease: a summary of the literature and future directions for research. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2012 Dec;130(6):1275-81
[4]  Blaiss MS. Rhinitis-asthma connection: epidemiologic and pathophysiologic basis. Allergy Asthma Proc 2005; 26: 35–40
[5]  Marshall PS. et al. Effects of seasonal allergic rhinitis on fatigue levels and mood. Psychosom Med. 2002;64:684-91.
[6]  Bender BG. Cognitive effects of allergic rhinitis and its treatment. Immunol Allergy Clin North Am. 2005;25:301-12
[7]  Valovirta E et al. The voice of the patients: allergic rhinitis is not a trivial disease. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008;8(1):1-9. Review.
[8]  Walker S. et al., Seasonal allergic rhinitis is associated with a detrimental effect on examination performance in UK teenagers: Case control study, 2007 American Academy of Alergy, Asthma & Immunology
[9]  EFA Book on Respiratory Allergy in Europe: Relieve the Burden, 2011
[10]  Meltzer EO, Gross GN, Katial R, Storms WW. Allergic rhinitis substantially impacts patient quality of life: findings from the Nasal Allergy Survey Assessing Limitations. J Fam Pract. 2012;61:S5-10.

Stallergenes Greer UK