January 27, 2016
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Untreated rhinitis often precedes asthma in elderly

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More than half of elderly patients with asthma had untreated rhinitis by a mean of up to mean 10 years prior to an asthma diagnosis, according to recent research.

“The main findings of the present study are that approximately 60% of elderly [patients] with asthma have rhinitis, mainly allergic and often untreated, whose onset preceded asthma symptoms by a mean of approximately 10 years,” Carlo Lombardi, MD, of the allergy and pneumology departmental Unit at Fondazione Poliambulanza Hospital in Brescia, Italy, and colleagues wrote. “Nonallergic asthma was better controlled than allergic asthma. The sensitization to [house dust mites] was greater in asthma with [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)]-like features (39% vs. 28%) with a significant negative role in overall asthma control.”

Lombardi and colleagues evaluated 368 patients with asthma (age ≥ 65 years) who underwent a skin prick test to determine common allergens, according to the abstract. The researchers analyzed demographic and clinical features, such as comorbidities and allergic respiratory disease, in conjunction with FEV1 less than 80% and asthma control.

They found that 101 patients in the group showed symptoms of COPD, with 59% of patients having rhinitis and 47.6% of patients having allergic rhinitis, according to the abstract. Further, patients with rhinitis had an earlier onset of the disease (49 ± 18 years0, compared with onset of asthma (57 ± 18 years). House dust mites were the most frequently allergic sensitization noted in these patients, with at least one sensitization present in 52.4% of patients.

Lombardi and colleagues found a higher rate of poor and partially controlled asthma (OR = 1.64; 95% CI, 1.03-2.61) among patients with sensitization to airborne allergens and a higher OR (1.73, 95% CI, 1.05-2.85) for patients who were sensitive to house dust mites, according to the abstract. – by Jeff Craven

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.