Feb 2, 2012

Allergic diseases are increasing in prevalence worldwide

Allergic diseases are increasing in prevalence worldwide, in industrialized as well as industrializing countries, affecting from 10%–50% of the global population with a marked impact on the quality of life of patients and with substantial costs. Thus, allergy can be rightfully considered an epidemic of the twenty-first century, a global public health problem, and a socioeconomic burden. With the projected increase in the world’s population, especially in the rapidly growing economies, it is predicted to worsen as this century moves forward.

Allergies are also becoming more complex. Patients frequently have multiple allergic disorders that involve multiple allergens and a combination of organs through which allergic diseases manifest. Thus exposure to aeroallergens or ingested allergens frequently gives rise to a combination of upper and lower airways disease, whereas direct contact or ingestion leads to atopic dermatitis with or without food allergy.

Food allergy, allergic drug responses and anaphylaxis are often severe and can be life-threatening. However, even the less severe allergic diseases can have a major adverse effect on the health of hundreds of millions of patients and diminish quality of life and work productivity. The need of the hour to combat these issues is to promote a better understanding of the science of allergy and clinical immunology through research, training and dissemination of information and evidence-based better practice parameters.

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