This article is part of Pulmonology Advisor‘s coverage of the ACAAI 2019 meeting, taking place in Houston, TX. Our staff will report on medical research related to allergies, asthma, and more conducted by experts in the field. Check back regularly for more news from ACAAI 2019.

HOUSTON —Adverse quality of life due to food allergies was more common among individuals in lower income brackets and in younger age groups, as well as in those with greater education, according to the results of a population-based survey presented at the 2019 American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting held November 7 to 11, in Houston, Texas.

While 10% of US adults have a food allergy, little is known about how their condition affects their quality of life and psychosocial status.

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Therefore, researchers surveyed 40,443 American adults to determine the prevalence of food allergies. They administered the Food Allergy Independent Measure (FAIM), which quantifies the adverse effects of food allergies on quality of life. To analyze relationships between sociodemographic factors and food allergies, the researchers conducted bivariate Wald tests and linear regressions.

Among the sample reporting current food allergies or meeting published symptom-report criteria (n=6207), higher FAIM scores were significantly associated with lower household income, younger age, and greater education. No relationships were found in adjusted models with race/ethnicity, insurance status, and census region or division.

Notably, of all major food allergies, wheat, soy, and milk allergies were linked to the highest level of adverse quality of life. In addition, elevated FAIM scores were seen among individuals who reported a current prescription for or prior use of an epinephrine autoinjector, a history of severe allergic reactions, and past food allergy-related emergency department visits.

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Having a greater number of current food allergies was also linked to worse quality of life as measured by FAIM.

Overall, the researchers found a substantial, broadly distributed psychosocial burden of food allergies among the nationally representative sample of US adults. They also teased out key differences in demographic factors and disease characteristics, which could have implications for future research and treatments.

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Warren C, Dyer A, Lombard L, Gupta R. The psychosocial burden of food allergy among US adults: a population-based survey. Presented at: American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting 2019; November 7-11, 2019; Houston, TX. Abstract P317.