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Allergens and Asthma

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In many medical textbooks allergens are still listed as one of the "trigger factors" for asthma, with the implication that irritability of the lungs is an underlying physiologic property of the lungs. Over the last few years it has become clear that asthma is an inflammatory disease. In addition, it has been shown that changes in allergen exposure can lead to changes in bronchial reactivity. These results lead to the view that continued allergen exposure of the lungs of allergic individuals with resulting "inflammation" is an important primary cause of asthma. In parallel with this has come a progressive increase in awareness and understanding of the importance of house dust allergens. In many parts of the world, the dust mite dominates house dust allergy and appears to be responsible for up to 85% of asthma. In the United States three indoor allergens appear to play an equal role: dust mites, cats, and cockroaches. In the future, management of asthma will increasingly focus on allergen avoidance both as a method of treating symptomatic allergic patients and also as an approach to controlling the development of a disease which currently has increasing morbidity and mortality.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2500/108854190778879729

Publication date: November 1, 1990

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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