Allergic rhinitis is often undiagnosed and untreated: results from a general population study of Danish adults

Authors

  • Christian Grønhøj Larsen,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Copenhagen University Hospital of Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark
    • Correspondence

      Christian Grønhøj Larsen, MD, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Copenhagen University Hospital of Rigshospitalet, Blegdamsvej 9, Copenhagen, Denmark.

      Tel: +45 26276374

      Fax: +45 3545 2548

      email: c.gronhoj@gmail.com

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  • Mette Gyldenløve,

    1. Department of Dermato-Allergology, Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte, Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • Allan Linneberg

    1. Research Centre for Prevention and Health, Copenhagen University Hospital Glostrup, Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • Authorship and contributorship

    Christian Grønhøj Larsen: drafting, revision and final approval of the article; Mette Gyldenløve: drafting, statistics, revision and final approval of the article; Allan Linneberg: PI of the Health2006 study, concepted the idea of the study, drafting, revision and final approval of the article.

  • Ethics

    The study was approved by the local ethics committee (KA20060011). All participants gave their informed written consent before their inclusion in the study.

  • Conflict of interest

    The authors have stated explicitly that there are no conflicts of interest in connection with this article.

Abstract

Introduction

A few earlier studies have indicated that allergic rhinitis (AR) is underdiagnosed and undertreated.

Objective

To assess awareness, diagnosis and treatment of AR in a general population of Danish adults.

Methods

Between October 2007 and June 2008, a total of 1277 consecutive participants in a Danish general population study of 18- to 69-year olds were skin-prick-tested and asked about respiratory symptoms. AR was defined as a combination of self-reported rhinitis symptoms and skin-prick test reactivity against inhalant allergens. Participants reporting rhinitis symptoms completed an additional questionnaire on medication for rhinitis symptoms.

Results

The prevalence of AR was 23.1%. A total of 43.6% (n = 122/280) of persons with AR had not received any treatment in the previous 12 months, and only 56.6% (n = 163/288) had been given a diagnosis of hay fever by a doctor. Both AR and lower airway symptoms indicating more severe AR were reported in 48.5% (n = 143/295). These persons were significantly more likely to having received treatment in previous 12 months and a diagnosis of hay fever.

Conclusion

Our results support that even in an affluent country like Denmark, AR is often undiagnosed and untreated. There appears to be a need for increased awareness of AR with regard to both diagnosis and treatment.

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