Allergic disorders are common in our country. In India every 6th person is suffering from allergic disorder. Out of allergy diseases , respiratory allergies are the most significant in Bengaluru city. Respiratory allergy disease has been on upward trend in terms of prevalence as well as severity in the city.
Recent study on respiratory allergy done by Neuberg Anand Diagnostics Labs in Bengaluru looked in to the findings of allergy tests done for 318 patients during January- December 2017 revealed that 75 % of patients are allergic to house dust mites which is the main reason for respiratory illness.
Prevalance of air pollution is quite common in Bangalore city, but staying at indoors are allergic to people due to micro organism present inside homes. Of the 318 who underwent allergy test , 111 were between 0 and 20 years who are the most affected age group.
Dr. Samrat Bordoloi, Pathologist In-charge of division of Immunopathology Neuberg Anand Diagnostic Laboratory, Bengaluru who conducted this study said that “ As a laboratory our focus is on the in vitro tests which include blood-based tests to screen for allergies and identify specific allergens causing the symptoms which play a crucial role in patient management. Test results reflect the allergy trends. Most of the allergies are seasonal, but we look at patients who suffer allergic rhinitis and chronic cough irrespective of season. More hygiene conscious and children are not exposed to outdoor allergens like pollen has spurred the immune system to over react on house dust allergen due to lack of exposure to natural allergen in the outdoor environment. Hypothesis is that high standard of living have killed immunity to allergens”.
Dr Gayathri Pandit, Consultant ENT surgeon and Allergy Specialist, Samarth ENT and Allergy Centre, Bangalore said that “House dust mite remains the main respiratory allergen contributing to nearly 75 percent of sensitivity. Next 20 percent is from pollens of which Parthenium, Amaranthus spinosum, Prosopis julifera and Ricinus communis, i.e castor oil plant contribute majorly to respiratory illness”.
Allergic rhinitis is the most common form of non-infectious rhinitis, affecting 500 million people worldwide, with one-fifth of those affected living in the Indian subcontinent. Several studies in Bangalore city have suggested dues to a phenomenal growth and a distinct shift of its arboriculture in the last 2 decades, there has certainly been change in allergen profile has been suspected. Large outskirts around the city have become residential and, office and commercial hubs resulting in a considerable change in pollen allergen flora.
This makes comprehensive allergy profiling a crucial step in management of allergy.
A retrospective review of the study for the previous year indicates
1. Dust mites continues to be a major allergen associated with symptoms with 75 % of patients testing positive.
2. The other prominent allergens we could identify include- Cockroach allergens (8%), Cultivated Rye (7%) and Sunflower pollen (6%)
3. The other allergens we could identify included animal associated allergens- dog hair, cat dander, chicken feathers, plant associated allergens- Eucalyptus, Ragweed, Timothy grass and trichophyton
4. This provides an insight to understand the allergen profiling required in the region however two factors need to be considered before drawing further conclusions. There is cross-reactivity between allergen antigens which needs to be evaluated before identifying potential allergens. The symptoms and their profiling play a crucial role in effective use of testing strategies in both diagnosis and prognosis
In conclusion we want to state that a patient centric partnership between clinical specialists and diagnostic laboratories with constructive counselling efforts is the need of the hour for effective patient management.