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The Regional Allergy & Asthma CONSULTANT is a biannual publication of Regional Allergy & Asthma Consultants, P.A. If you would like to receive the complete newsletter by mail, please use our sign up form.

SPRING/SUMMER 2002

Nasal Allergies and Quality of Life

Millions of people suffer from nasal allergies, which affect up to 30% of us, and perhaps an even greater percentage of children and young adults. 

 

Each year 10 million physician office visits are for allergy-related problems, and $6 billion is spent on allergy medicines. Allergies cause an estimated 2 million lost school days and 6 million lost work days annually. 

 

Despite this burden, nasal allergies often go under-recognized and under-treated, in part because they are not life-threatening or associated with hospitalization. 

 

Yet patients with poorly controlled allergies may experience significant physical and psychosocial problems related to their allergies. This decreased quality of life, related to poor allergy control, has been studied particularly well in Canada and Europe both in children and adults over the past ten years.

 

Significant ill effects include:

  •  Disordered breathing during sleep, leading to sleep  loss, daytime fatigue and poor concentration.
  • Impaired learning.
  • Decreased cognitive functioning.
  • Slowed decision-making.
  • Diminished participation in sports or physical activities.
  • Diminished self image.
  • Absenteeism from school and work.
  • Impaired productivity.

 

Making matters worse, many of the most commonly used over-the-counter allergy medications may further worsen cognitive function and productivity. Recent studies have shown that this even occurs in people who don’t necessarily feel sleepy after using over-the-counter medicines.

 

Over the last five years, numerous studies have assessed quality of life in patients undergoing various allergy treatment programs. All three of our frequently-used strategies have delivered substantial increases in quality of life, both physical and psychosocial. These strategies include reducing exposure to known allergy triggers, the newer prescription medications, and specific allergy immunotherapy injections. As with many medical conditions, the more “angles” from which an allergy problem is approached, the more substantial the improvement obtained – both in physical and psychosocial well-being.

 

As always, we would be delighted to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have about your allergies.

 

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Last updated 4/23/2002

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