Men may have greater allergy risk than women

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A study of nearly 14 million blood tests for aiding allergy diagnosis shows that men exhibited higher sensitivity to 11 common allergens than women when tested, contradicting other research suggesting women experience allergies more frequently than men.

The study’s findings raise the possibility that men have a higher risk for allergies than women or that men, as a function of their gender, require different reporting standards when evaluated for allergies with increasingly used blood tests.

The Quest Diagnostics Health Trends(TM) Report, Allergies Across America(TM), from Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX), is the largest study ever conducted on allergy testing in order to assess allergy trends in the United States. The study evaluated results of ImmunoCAP? specific Immunoglobulin E (IgE) blood testing to 11 common allergens, including common ragweed and mold, two dust mites, cats and dogs and five foods. IgE is an antibody in blood produced by the body’s immune system when an allergen is present. A high IgE sensitization level for a specific allergen tested is highly suggestive of an allergy, although physicians also evaluate symptoms, medical history and other factors in order to clinically diagnose an allergy.

“This landmark report, based on testing of patients in every state of the country and the District of Columbia, underscores that allergies are a major public health concern, and that gender, age and region influence their impact on the health of Americans,” said Surya N. Mohapatra, Ph.D. chairman and chief executive officer, Quest Diagnostics.

Earlier this month, Quest Diagnostics released preliminary results from the report, including growth rates of two environment-based allergens linked to climate change and associations between allergies and asthma in children. Allergies are one of the most common health conditions, affecting one in five Americans.

Source: Quest Diagnostics, USA

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