2013-05-27Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.1007/s00103-012-1652-7
Prevalence of allergic diseases in Germany
Results of the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Adults (DEGS1)
In the first wave of the “German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Adults” (DEGS1), up-to-date and representative data regarding allergic diseases in 7,988 18- to 79-year-old subjects living in Germany were collected using computer-assisted medical interviews. The study identified a lifetime prevalence of 8.6% for asthma, 14.8% for allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, 3.5% each for atopic dermatitis and urticaria, 8.1% for contact eczema, 4.7% for food allergies and 2.8% for insect venom allergies. Overall, nearly one third of adults in Germany have been diagnosed with at least one of the above-mentioned allergies during their lifetime by a physician. Currently, nearly 20% suffer from at least one allergic disease. Generally, women reported an allergic disease more frequently than men did and younger subjects more frequently than older ones. Additionally, allergies are more common in the former federal states of West Germany than in the former East German federal states. A high socioeconomic status and living in large cities both increase allergy risk. During the last 10 years, asthma prevalence increased about 3%, whereas the prevalence of urticaria and contact eczema declined. The lifetime prevalence of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, atopic dermatitis and food allergies appeared unchanged. In total, allergy prevalence has declined from 32.7 to 28.7% over the past decade.
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