There is a link between alcohol consumption and increased risk of perennial allergic rhinitis, according to a recent Danish study of 5,870 young adult women.
Allergic rhinitis (AR) is an upper respiratory disorder affecting between 10% and 40% of the population worldwide, and over the last decades, the prevalence of AR has increased in westernised countries.
Alcohol consumption is part of the western lifestyle and it has been proposed that alcohol consumption may be one of the factors contributing to the rise in AR, especially because alcohol is a well-known trigger of hypersensitivity reactions and there is evidence that it influences the immune system. [Symptoms of alcohol allergy]
The study, published in the July issue of Clinical and Experimental Allergy, found that the risk increased 3% for every additional alcoholic drink per week. In contrast, the authors did not observe any increase in risk of seasonal allergic rhinitis according to alcohol intake.
The 5,870 women studied were aged 20-29 years and free of seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis at the start of the study.
They were asked about different lifestyle habits including their general alcohol intake, measured in drinks per week (i.e. glasses of wine, bottles of beer).
After a time period of seven to nine years, the women were contacted again and 831 women had developed seasonal AR and 523 women had developed perennial AR, 14% and 9% respectively.
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