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Asthma and rhinitis symptoms in individuals from different socioeconomic levels in a Brazilian city

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Allergy is considered to be caused by complex interactions between genetic and environmental factors. Socioeconomic status (SES) may be the most important environmental determinant of allergy because it determines the living environment, but few studies have addressed the causal role of SES in allergy. The aim of this study was to compare the prevalence of asthma and rhinitis symptoms in two SES groups in a Brazilian city. History of asthma and rhinitis symptoms was collected using the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood questionnaire. SES was determined by the Gallup method. Sera from subgroups of the individuals were used to determine total, anti–Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus and anti–Blomia tropicalis IgE. The prevalence of asthma and rhinitis symptoms was higher in the A and B (A&B) SES group than in the C, D, and E (C, D&E) SES group. Individuals with asthma and/or rhinitis were more frequently positive for anti–B. tropicalis and anti–D. pteronyssinus IgE than individuals without these symptoms. A positive association between total IgE levels and asthma and rhinitis symptoms was observed in the A&B SES group but not in the C, D&E SES group. Women reported more respiratory symptoms than men. These results revealed higher prevalence rates of asthma and rhinitis symptoms in individuals with higher SES and may provide support for the hygiene hypothesis, which attributes the high prevalence of respiratory allergies observed in individuals from developed countries to a low exposure to pathogens. The observed higher prevalence of asthma and rhinitis symptoms in women than in men could be attributed to differences in the perception of these symptoms or in exposures to allergens and protective pathogens.
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Keywords: Blomia tropicalis; Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus; IgE; Prevalence; allergy and gender; asthma; rhinitis; socioeconomic level

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Instituto de Ciências da Saúde, Centro de Pesquisa Gonçalo Moniz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Salvador, Brazil, and 2: Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Bahia, Brazil, 3: Instituto de Ciências da Saúde,

Publication date: 2007-05-01

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  • 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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