BACKGROUND: Allergic rhinitis (AR), allergic conjunctivitis (AC), and asthma composing multiple phenotypes and improved understanding of these phenotypes and their respective risk factors are needed.
OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to define the prevalence of AR, AC, and asthma and their association with allergen-specific immunoglobulin E (sIgE) sensitization in a large cohort of blood donors and identify risk factors.
METHODS: From the nationwide population-based Danish Blood Donor Study, 52,976 participants completed an electronic questionnaire including AR, AC, asthma, allergic predisposition, and childhood residence. Of these, 25,257 were additionally tested for sIgE to inhalation allergens (Phadiatop).
RESULTS: The prevalence of sIgE sensitization, AR, AC, and asthma was 30%, 19%, 15%, and 9%, respectively. The youngest birth cohorts had the highest prevalence of sIgE sensitization and symptoms of asthma, AR, and AC, and for asthma, they apparently experienced symptoms at an earlier age. The sIgE sensitization was positively associated with male sex. The sIgE seroprevalence was higher in participants with both AR and AC (ARC) than in participants with either AR or AC. Allergic predisposition and sIgE sensitization increased the risk of the diseases, while farm upbringing was associated with reduced prevalence of ARC, however, only in sIgE sensitized participants.
CONCLUSION: Birth year, childhood residence, sIgE sensitization, and allergic predisposition were associated with asthma, AR, and AC prevalence. Individuals with self-reported ARC represent a primarily sIgE-positive phenotype, while those with either AR or AC represent more diverse phenotypes.