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Age does not protect against allergies

Hanna Müller* is 75 years old, healthy, and departs daily shopping by bike. Sometime this spring, you noticed that your eyes on these rides always tears, and always sneezing. As you also can't eat Apples anymore, because your mouth is burning and tingling, she goes to the doctor. After an Allergy test she has developed a birch pollen Allergy and also responds to the core of fruit is allergic.

"While classifying allergies 30 years ago as a disease of children and young people and allergic diseases in people over 50 rarely observed, are now, increasingly, elderly patients beyond the age of 70. Year of life of classical allergic diseases such as hay fever or eczema affected", says Ludger Klimek, head of the center for rhinology and Allergology in Wiesbaden in the "Pharmaceutical newspaper".

frequency stagnates

one thing is Clear: allergies are a common disease are. Most Allergy sufferers are affected by hay fever, followed by Asthma, neurodermatitis and contact allergies. The incidence of allergic diseases has increased since the 1970s in countries with a Western life style seems to be stabilizing now, however, gradually to a high level.

According to the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, is diagnosed in every fourth child, or adult at least once in the life of an Allergy. "The Figures are likely to be Switzerland-like", so Julia Katharina Genser, a senior physician in the Allergy ward of the University hospital in Zurich. Basically, the Allergy research has focused on children and young people, so there are few data on the development of allergies in adult - or even of retirement age. The European centre for Allergy research Foundation (Ecarf), however, estimates that around ten percent of over 65-Year-old allergic complaints such as hay fever and Asthma, and now in retirement age occur.

An Allergy is a disorder of the immune system. Normally, the body fights its own defense dangerous intruders such as bacteria or viruses. "The immune system of an Allergy sufferer is deceiving himself and is accidentally against harmless substances such as Pollen," explains Torsten Zuberbier from the Allergy-centre Charité in Berlin and head of the Ecarf. The result of a variety of disease pictures such as hay fever, Asthma, or up to a life of allergic shock threatening.

Lack of Dirt?

Why allergies in the past decades have increased and why, apparently, a connection with the Western life style is, is still not fully understood. The so-called Hygiene-hypothesis States that there is a lack of people in industrial countries, Dirt, faecal matter and worms in their environment. As a result, the contact to germinate, which the person has been exposed to for thousands of years is missing. Since the immune system is challenged, it reacts overly sensitive to harmless substances called allergens. The several studies documented observation that children who grow up on farms have a lower incidence of allergies than city children speaks.

"house doctors do not think in older
people often have an Allergy."Julia Katharina Genser,
senior physician at the University hospital of Zurich

"The environmental conditions have changed in General, so that today, allergies can arise no matter whether young or the elderly easier", says the Wiesbaden-based Allergy expert Klimek. This includes the climate change. Due to rising average temperatures, the plants bloom earlier and longer and also not originally in Europe, the native plants take in this country on foot. About the from North America invasive mugwort ragweed, which is one of triggers of the strongest Allergy of the plant world and is spreading despite the control measures continue.

Also, the increased pollution of the air appears to play a role. "Although it is often discussed that air pollutants cause Asthma – sound scientific evidence is not yet available but," writes the "Allergy information service" on its website. He admits, however, that "there is evidence that a strong burden of air pollutants, including ozone, nitrogen oxides or particulate matter such as soot Particles from diesel exhaust gases, the allergic disease is also affected".This is done by the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract become irritated, so that allergens can penetrate, such as Pollen easier in the body. In addition, Pollen, which are charged with pollutants seem to have a higher allergic potential.

under threat

not appreciated "house physicians are thinking in the elderly is often to the possibility of an Allergy," says Genser, "in particular, allergic Asthma is often underestimated. The diagnosis is more difficult, since older people suffer more diseases with similar symptoms to trigger, such as Bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or congestive heart failure."

Also, the Affected myself to go sometimes to lightly with an Allergy. "Many have their complaints six to eight weeks in the year. Then get your drugs in the pharmacy. The pollen season is over, you forget the discomfort until it goes off again next year," says Klimek.

an Allergy is a chronic inflammatory disease and the risk of a "floor change" the direction of the bronchi exists, don't know many of those Affected. "In 40 percent of patients with untreated hay fever turns in to Asthma," explains the making of beer. "Older people often suffer also from cardiovascular diseases are particularly at risk."

It is also a good message to give but allergies are today – regardless of age – can be treated well. "In the past, has not thought that desensitization is more than 60 useful, because the immune system is weaker," says Genser. "New studies show, however, that this assumption was wrong, and that older people respond well to this therapy."

* Name changed by the editors

Created: 03.11.2019, at 18:02

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