Methods: The study investigates the patients of third level adult allergy outpatient clinic in one year and compares the elderly population with the rest of the population. The study population consisted of 82 (F/M: 56/26) subjects aged ≥60 years and 954 (F/M: 679/ 275)subjects aged ≤60. Sensitization was determined by using skin prick test with common airborne allergens (house dust mite-HDM; molds, animal dander, tree-grass-weed pollens).
Results: The mean age of the elderly population is 66.5±0.63 (60-81) year and the most common reasons for the admission of them are chronic nasal symptoms, generalized pruritus and suspicion of drug allergy. Prevalence rate of atopic sensitization is 61% in the elderly population whereas the rate is 75.3% in subjects aged <60y. There is female predominance in older atopic subjects (661% of F vs. 50% of M), but not in younger ones (75.8% of F vs. 76.1% of M). Polysensitization is mostly determined in subjects with chronic nasal symptoms in both populations. Twenty-two percent of elderly subjects are sensitized to HDM, 17.1% to weed pollen, 15.9% to Cladosporium, 13.3% to grass pollen and 12.2% to birch pollen. Sensitization to animal dander is higher in elderly subjects than younger ones (12% vs. 7.5%).
Conclusions: Atopic sensitization should not be underestimated in subjects aged ≥60 years.