Urban-rural differences in the prevalence of allergen sensitization and self-reported rhinitis in the elderly population

Woo Jung Song, Kyoung Hee Sohn, Min Gyu Kang, Han Ki Park, Mi Yeong Kim, Sae Hoon Kim, Min Kyung Lim, Min Ho Choi, Ki Woong Kim, Sang Heon Cho, Kyung Up Min, Yoon Seok Chang

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15 Scopus citations


Background Urbanization is frequently associated with allergic conditions during childhood; however, the literature lacks studies on the association between allergies and degree of urbanization in the elderly population. Objective To determine how the degree of urbanization affects the prevalence of allergic sensitization and self-reported rhinitis symptoms in elderly community populations. Methods The study population consisted of 1,311 elderly subjects identified from 2 community population cohort datasets who were divided into 3 groups according to the degree of urbanization (urban, semirural, and rural) where they resided. Current rhinitis symptoms were assessed using a questionnaire. Sensitization to inhalant allergen was measured using skin prick tests for 9 common allergens. Results Sensitization to inhalant allergen showed a positive correlation with degree of urbanization (urban 17.2%, semirural 9.8%, rural 6.0%; P for trend <.001), with a significant correlation observed between house dust mite allergens and degree of urbanization. Self-reported rhinitis symptoms were mostly nonallergic, but showed a positive correlation with degree of urbanization (urban 26.8%, semirural 18.2%, rural 11.5%; P for trend <.001). Self-reported rhinoconjunctivitis also correlated with urbanization. Correlations between self-reported allergic conditions and urbanization remained statistically significant in multivariate logistic regression tests. Conclusion The present analyses found significant correlations between degree of urbanization with self-reported rhinitis symptoms and sensitization to inhalant allergen in the elderly population. These findings warrant further investigation of the roles that urban factors play in the development of elderly rhinitis and allergen sensitization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-461
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2015

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