Most American adults with asthma also have an allergy, according to a new study.
Researchers examined data on nearly 2,600 people from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and found that 75 percent of adults aged 20 to 40 with asthma, and 65 percent of adults 55 and older with the condition, have at least one allergy.
The findings appeared in the April issue of the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
“Allergists have known the prevalence of allergies among asthmatic children is high at 60 percent to 80 percent, but it was thought allergies were not as common in asthmatic adults,” study lead author Dr. Paula Busse said in a journal news release. “These findings are important, and can help lead to proper diagnosis and treatment.”
Although asthma is more common in children, it affects 3 percent to 7 percent of adults 60 and older. The actual figure is likely higher, because asthma is often underdiagnosed in older adults, according to the news release.
Currently, 26 million Americans have diagnosed asthma and the number increases every year, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. More than 50 million Americans have an allergy, and that number is also climbing.
“Both asthma and allergies can strike at any age, and are serious diseases,” ACAAI president Dr. Richard Weber said in the news release. Weber said people who think they have symptoms of asthma or an allergy should see an allergist.
SOURCE: Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, news release, April 2, 2013.