Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




Background/aim: Although allergic diseases are generally considered to be diseases of childhood and youth, the first symptoms of allergic diseases can be seen in old age sometimes. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and characteristics of allergic diseases in the elderly population admitted to the allergy unit on an outpatient basis. Materials and methods: The files of the patients who applied to our clinic's allergy unit during the 8-year period were retrospectively analyzed. The data of patients aged ≥ 65 years were obtained from the files of our allergy unit archive. Results: A total of 1272 patients aged ≥ 65 years old were included in the study. The mean age was 70 years (range: 65-97 years). Most of the patients were female (n = 704, 55.3%). Of the patients, 887 (69.8%) presented with cutaneous symptoms, and urticaria was identified in 500 of them (56.3%). Drug hypersensitivity reactions were detected in 175 (13.7%) patients. A total of 71 (5.6%) patients had asthma, 65 (5.1%) had anaphylaxis, 48 (3.8%) had allergic rhinitis, 24 (1.9%) had hymenoptera venom allergy, and 18 (1.4%) had food allergies. Atopy history (OR = 2.323, 95% CI = 1.590-3.393, p < 0.001) and comorbidity (OR = 1.631, 95% CI = 1.050-2.533, p = 0.029) were found to be risk factors for drug hypersensitivity reactions. Male sex (OR = 3.462, 95% CI = 1.097-10.933, p = 0.034) and atopy history (OR = 14.877, 95% CI = 6.081-36.393, p < 0.001) were found to be risk factors for hymenoptera venom allergy. Conclusion: Diagnosis becomes difficult due to the perception that allergic diseases mainly affect young people. Clinical symptoms are not evident in the elderly and age-related difficulties are encountered in diagnostic tests. There is a need to develop specific guidelines for the diagnosis of allergic diseases in the elderly.


Elderly, allergic diseases, allergic rhinitis, drug hypersensitivity reactions, hymenoptera venom allergy, anaphylaxis

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