This study analyzed 7,000 patients (aged 16-60 years) with self-reported respiratory allergic disease from 10 European countries using a telephone-based randomized screening method.
The most prevalent conditions were allergic rhinitis (66%) and asthma (26%). Both conditions were self-reported at higher rates that than the ones found in epidemilogical surveys. This reflects patients' perception rather than true prevalence.
The average duration of the symptoms of respiratory allergy was 14.5 years. Over 30% of patients had never had a specific diagnostic test. About 80% of patients used medication for their respiratory allergy.
30% of patients were not satisfied with their treatment, and 70% experienced restrictions in daily activities.
Medication was most commonly taken in the form of tablets and nasal spray.
Allergy-specific immunotherapy was received by 16% of patients. Knowledge of immunotherapy was low and varied widely by country: 30% of patients (country range, 10%-52%) had never heard of this treatment option.
The study authors concluded that a large proportion of individuals with respiratory allergy in Europe are underdiagnosed, undertreated, and dissatisfied with their treatment.
Allergy, Living and Learning: Diagnosis and Treatment of Allergic Respiratory Diseases in Europe. Issue 3, Vol 22, 2012. JIACI - Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology - http://goo.gl/DDkTU
Image source: Life expectancy around the world. Wikipedia, GNU Free Documentation License.