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Association between alcohol consumption and aeroallergen sensitization in Danish adults


Allan Linneberg, Research Centre for Prevention and Health, Glostrup University Hospital, 57 Ndr Ringvej, Building 84/85, DK-2600 Glostrup, Denmark. E-mail:


Background It has been proposed that alcohol consumption may be one of the lifestyle factors associated with a westernized, urban, and affluent lifestyle contributing to the rise in atopic disease.

Objective The aim was to investigate the association between alcohol consumption and atopy (aeroallergen sensitization).

Methods In 1982, a population-based cross-sectional study of 3608 Danes (79% of the invited), aged 30, 40, 50, and 60 years, was carried out. Information on alcohol consumption was obtained by a questionnaire. Aeroallergen sensitization was defined as a positive test for the detection of specific IgE against a panel of 19 common inhalant allergens in stored serum samples. A total of 3317 subjects with complete information on all variables were included in the analyses.

Results We found a statistically significant association between alcohol consumption and aeroallergen sensitization (independent of the type of alcoholic drink consumed). This association appeared to relate only to those who consumed more than 8 drinks/week. After adjustment for confounders this association was only statistically significant for those who consumed 15–21 drinks/week (adjusted odds ratio 1.8, 95% confidence interval 1.2–2.8).

Conclusion In this adult general population, self-reported alcohol consumption was positively associated with aeroallergen sensitization.