The percentage of individuals suffering from asthma or allergic rhinitis has increased dramatically worldwide since the second half of the 20th century. In Belgium, between 400,000 and 1,000,000 people suffer from asthma (figures from the 2013 Health Survey organised by Sciensano and the Belgian Society of Pneumology) and the country’s prevalence rate of allergic rhinitis was among the highest in Europe).
The impact of these diseases in terms of health care consumption and mortality, and also the role of individual and environmental factors are, however, still poorly understood. This project aims to fill this lack of information in order to improve the management of these diseases.
This project aimed at:
- assessing the morbidity/mortality attributable to asthma and allergic rhinitis within the Brussels Capital Region and its evolution in recent years; and
- identifying the role of certain individual/environmental factors in the development or exacerbation of these pathologies.
It was based on a review of the relevant literature and data mining using the various existing databases related to:
- health care provision (sales of medicines and skin tests) for the purpose of estimating the number of patients being treated for these pathologies, describing this population and studying the impact of aeroallergens on the expression of the symptoms (reimbursement data compiled by the InterMutualist Agency);
- hospitalisations in order to determine the number of acute cases, describing this population and the role of aeroallergens in the expression of acute symptoms (Minimum Hospital Summaries compiled by the FPS Health, Safety of the Food Chain and Environment); and
- mortality so to evaluate the most severe consequences of these diseases (data compiled by the FPS Economy).
In addition to a better knowledge of the population affected by asthma and allergic rhinitis in the Brussels region in recent years, this project lead to a better understanding of the biological mechanisms and the allergens associated with these pathologies.
Added value at scientific level
Increased understanding of the biological mechanisms, allergens associated with respiratory allergic diseases.
Added value for public health
Better knowledge on the:
- Population affected by respiratory allergic diseases in the Brussels region
- Individual and environmental factors involved
Consequently, on the long term, better medical care for patients.