Background Allergic rhinitis, asthma and atopic dermatitis are closely associated. Although population-based studies report a high prevalence of rhinitis among asthma patients, less is known of the association between rhinitis and atopic dermatitis and the severity of concomitant rhinitis.
Objectives We aimed to determine the prevalence and severity of allergic rhinitis among asthmatics and patients with atopic dermatitis and assessed whether age and comorbidity influence the severity of rhinitis signs and symptoms.
Methods Three hundred and twenty-five patients recruited for a multicentre trial to study the effect of encasings of mattresses, pillows and duvets on signs and symptoms of allergic rhinitis and/or asthma and/or atopic dermatitis recorded visual analogue scores (VAS) and daily symptom scores and underwent nasal challenge tests with house dust mite (HDM).
Results Based on history and clinical symptoms 92% of the 164 asthmatic patients and 85% of the 86 patients with atopic dermatitis could be diagnosed as having rhinitis. Inclusion of a positive provocation to HDM did not result in a substantial lower prevalence of rhinitis. Subjects reported moderate symptoms, with mean rhinitis VAS scores ranging from 40.0 to 55.0. Presence of atopic dermatitis was associated with lower rhinitis VAS and symptoms scores, whereas in multivariate analysis the presence of asthma was positively associated with nasal responsiveness to HDM.
Conclusion The prevalence of nasal symptoms in patients with bronchial asthma or atopic dermatitis and sensitized to house dust mites is high. Although the majority of patients experience mild to moderate symptoms, the presence of nasal disease needs to be examined in all patients with atopic disorders.
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