Background: Allergic rhinitis, asthma or the atopic eczema/dermatitis syndrome (AEDS) may independently impair quality of life in patients. However, although many allergic patients may suffer from more than one disorder, the effect of concomitant disease — in particular, the impact of AEDS — is largely unknown. As part of a large multicenter clinical trial on the efficacy of mattress casings in house-dust mite (HDM) allergy, generic quality of life in a mixed population of 224 subjects with rhinitis (n = 198) and/or asthma (n = 111) and/or AEDS (n = 64) was studied. The study aimed to estimate quality of life impairment in these atopic patients and to address the questionissue of whether one atopic disorder goes beyond other existing allergic diseases, thereby causing further impairment to quality of life.
Methods: Generic quality of life was assessed by SF-36. Quality of life in the atopic group was compared with a Dutch norm population. Multiple linear regression was used to determine the effects of disease (i.e. the presence of allergic rhinitis, asthma or AEDS) or disease severity, as assessed by visual analog scores (VAS) for asthma, rhinitis, VAS sleeplessness and VAS itching being considered as major symptoms in AEDS on SF-36 domains.
Results: Compared to the norm group, atopic patients were impaired in: physical functioning; role physical functioning; general health; vitality; and social functioning. The diagnosis of asthma was negatively associated with the SF-36 subscales for physical functioning (P = 0.02), and general health (P < 0.01). In line with these findings, asthma severity (VAS asthma) was negatively associated with physical functioning (P < 0.01), role physical functioning (P < 0.01), general health (P < 0.0.1), social functioning (P = 0.01), emotional functioning (P = 0.01), and vitality (P = 0.01). VAS sleeplessness had significant negative effect on role physical functioning (P < 0.01), bodily pain (P < 0.01), General health (P = 0.01), mental health (P < 0.01), social functioning (P < 0.01), and vitality (P < 0.01). In contrast, neither the diagnosis of allergic rhinitis or AEDS, nor VAS itching as an outcome parameter of AEDS, exerted additional effects on the SF-36 domains.
Conclusions: Patients with atopic disease based on HDM allergy may have impaired quality of life. The majority of these patients have allergic rhinitis. The (co)existence of asthma, expressed in terms of diagnostic criteria or symptom severity, or the presence of sleep disorders as a consequence of AEDS, may further impair quality of life.