MADISON, N.J., May 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Early results from the largest cross-sectional national allergy study ever conducted, to be released later this month, demonstrate that food allergies commonly occur in infants and toddlers, while environmental allergies, such as to dust, ragweed and mold, are more common in older children and adults. The study, based on laboratory testing from more than 2 million patient visits in the United States, is the largest to reveal a pattern of allergen sensitivity consistent with the "allergy march," a medical condition by which allergies to foods in early childhood heighten the risk for the development of additional and more severe allergy-related conditions, including asthma, later in life.
The Quest Diagnostics Health Trends Report, Allergies Across America™, from Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX ), the world's leading diagnostic testing company, also found that patients with asthma who were tested for allergies were 20% more likely to have an allergy, particularly to indoor allergens like mold and house dust mites, compared to patients tested without asthma, based on an analysis of test results showing immunoglobulin E (IgE) sensitivity to certain allergens. The findings support medical guidelines recommending that clinicians and patients with asthma identify and minimize potential allergens in the home and workplace that could aggravate the disease.
"Allergy and asthma often go hand in hand, and the development of asthma is often linked to allergies in childhood via the allergy march," said study investigator Harvey W. Kaufman, M.D., senior medical director, Quest Diagnostics. "Given the growing incidence of asthma in the U.S., our study underscores the need for clinicians to evaluate and treat patients, particularly young children, suspected of having food allergies in order to minimize the prospect that more severe al