“The Quest Diagnostics
Health Trends Report studiesthe eect o allergies on auniquely massive scale. Itrepresents people across theUnited States using a highly respected and standardizedlaboratory methodology.”
Adr H. lu, M.D.
Assciat PssAlly and Clinical IunlyNatinal Jish HalthDn, Clad
Allergy Report 2011
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Sensitization to common ragweedgrew 15% – more than any other allergen we analyzed – with the Southwest,Mountain, and Plains States experiencing the highest sensitization rates. Thesendings are consistent with other research suggesting climate change maycontribute to an increase in certain environmental allergens, such as ragweed.Mold sensitization grew 12%, a nding that is potentially clinically importantgiven other research showing that molds may trigger allergic sensitization andaggravate asthma (see page 13).
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Yet, some cities demonstrated higher rates o sensitizationthan others, with Dallas, Phoenix, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Bostonexperiencing the greatest burden (see page 16).
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This novel nding diers rom otherstudies that suggest that allergies are more prevalent among women. Whileadditional research is required, we hypothesize that the criteria or positivespecic-IgE allergic response may dier between males and emales, a ndingo potential clinical signicance. We provide 3 hypotheses or why our researchdiers rom prior studies, including the possibility that the criteria or positivespecic-IgE allergic response may dier between males and emales, andpossibly at dierent ages (see page 19).
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O children tested between2 and 17 years o age, 53% showed sensitization to 1 or more allergens. Nearly1 in 5 children with sensitization showed a high degree o IgE sensitization,compared to about 1 in 10 adults (see page 21).
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The allergymarch is a well-documented phenomenon by which sensitization to oodsearly in lie may heighten a child’s likelihood o developing more severe allergicdisease, including asthma, later in lie. Our cross-sectional study is the largestto reveal a pattern o allergen sensitization consistent with the allergy march,with high rates o ood-allergen sensitization most commonly ound in earlychildhood and high rates o sensitization to other allergens occurring morerequently with age. To better control the allergy march, physicians mayperiodically evaluate patients with allergies to assess changes in allergensensitization (see page 24).
Allergies are one o the most common health conditions, aecting 1 in 5Americans. Allergies account or more than 17 million physician ofce visits,30,000 emergency room visits, and several hundred deaths each year.
Individualswith allergies are at heightened risk or other diseases, including asthma.As the world’s leading diagnostic testing company, Quest Diagnostics is uniquelypositioned to analyze the largest national database o allergy blood tests and deriveinsights into the impact o allergies on the health o Americans.For this Quest Diagnostics Health Trends report, we analyzed de-identied testresults rom more than 2 million patient encounters over a 4-year period. Ouranalysis included results rom patients o both genders, rom inants to the elderly,residing in every U.S. state and the District o Columbia.Allergies are clinically diagnosed based on actors that include medicalexamination, patient history, laboratory testing, and, as appropriate, allergenexposure testing. Our study is based on testing using the ImmunoCAP
specicimmunoglobulin E (IgE) blood test (ImmunoCAP), the “gold standard” o allergyblood tests.
Each test result identied sensitization to 1 or more o 11 commonallergens. Sensitization reers to a test result that indicates a patient has anallergen-specic IgE, which is important or diagnosing an allergy but may not byitsel be sufcient to prompt symptoms. The allergens we evaluated were 5 oods(egg white, milk, peanut, soybean, and wheat), common ragweed, mold, 2 types ohouse dust mites, cat epithelia (skin), and dog dander.Our study is the largest study o laboratory test results rom a nationallyrepresentative U.S. population seeking medical care or symptoms associated withallergies. In addition to size, our study’s advantages include the use o validatedquantitative laboratory test results o allergy sensitization, rather than surveyresponses rom physicians or patients. As the vast majority o the patients in ourstudy likely presented with new or changing allergy signs and symptoms, ouranalysis does not measure the prevalence o allergies in the general population.
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Our analysis ound that the overallallergen-sensitization rate increased by 5.8% over the 4-year study period. Inaddition, the number o patients tested or these 11 allergens increased 19%,signicantly aster than growth in laboratory testing in general (see page 12).
The largest allergy
study ever conductedound America’s allergy problem is both pervasiveand increasing.