60% of elderly patients with asthma have rhinitis, mainly allergic and often untreated, whose onset preceded asthma symptoms by 10 years

Allergic rhinitis is a group of symptoms affecting the nose such as runny nose, congestion, sneezing and itchy eyes. These symptoms occur when you breathe in something you are allergic to, such as dust, animal dander, or pollen. Allergic rhinitis affects between 20% and 40% of people.

This study from Italy investigated the role of rhinitis and sensitization to airborne allergens in 368 elderly patients with asthma (65 years and older). Approximately 30% of patients had some features of overlapping COPD. Skin prick tests for common allergens were performed.

Rhinitis was present in 59% of patients, with an age of onset significantly different from that of asthma (49 for rhinitis vs 57 years for asthma). At least 1 sensitization was observed in 52% of subjects, more frequently for house dust mite (HDM; 31.8%).

The prevalence of poorly and partially controlled asthma was higher in patients sensitized to airborne allergens (odds ratio 1.64), in particular to HDM (odds ratio 1.73).

Approximately 60% of elderly subjects with asthma had rhinitis, mainly allergic and often untreated, whose onset preceded asthma symptoms by a mean of approximately 10 years. HDM sensitization was greater in patients with asthma with features resembling COPD (39% vs 28%).

Nonallergic asthma was better controlled than allergic asthma.

Treatment Options for 
Allergic Rhinitis (AR) and 
Non-Allergic Rhinitis (NAR) in 6 Steps (click to enlarge the image). En EspaƱol.

Treatment Options for 
Non-Allergic Rhinitis (NAR) (click to enlarge the image).


Phenotyping asthma in the elderly: allergic sensitization profile and upper airways comorbidity in patients older than 65 years. Carlo Lombardi et al. Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, March 2016, Volume 116, Issue 3, Pages 206–211.

Image source: Wikipedia, Creative Commons license.

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