A cross-sectional survey of 132 adult men referred to the outpatient allergy clinic at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center was performed to assess age effects on allergic disease in the elderly. Total serum immunoglobulin E (IgE), immediate hypersensitivity skin testing, and serum eosinophil count were measured in all subjects. Subjects were stratified by age into one of five groups for comparison. In asthma, prevalence of allergy skin test reactivity and mean total serum IgE levels did not decline with advancing age, suggesting that IgE-dependent mechanisms continue to be significant in elderly patients with asthma. In subjects with rhinitis, prevalence of allergy skin test reactivity and mean total serum IgE did decline among elderly subjects relative to younger subjects. However, the prevalence of allergic rhinitis did not decline in the elderly. This suggests that although allergic rhinitis is common in elderly patients, nonallergic causes of rhinitis may become more prevalent with advancing age.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: May 1, 2004
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