Food hypersensitivity among adult patients: epidemiological and clinical aspects.
Food hypersensitivity (FH) is lesser frequent among adult patients than in childhood. Foods implicated in hypersensitivity reactions vary with sociocultural and diet habits from a geographic place to other. We studied 142 adult patients sensitized to foods, among 7698 patients visited at our Outpatient Clinic. Hundred and twenty patients referred clinical symptoms after consumption of one or more foods consistently. From the latest, 107 patients (89.2%) were atopics (92 of them sensitizes to dust mites) and 54 (45%) referred atopic familiar background. Most frequent recorded symptoms were: urticaria/angioedema 84 cases (70%), oral syndrome 65 (54%), asthma 48 (37%) and anaphylaxis 33 patients (27.5%). Shellfish sensitization occurred in 50 patients, fresh fruits in 33 and nuts in 29 cases. Shrimp (48 patients), squid (33), kiwi (14), papaya (14), avocado (13) and banana (12 cases) were the most frequent causes of FH. Significant statistical association between foods and inhalants was observed for fresh fruits and latex (p < 0.001), fresh fruits and pollens (p < 0.01), and shellfish and Blatta germanica (p < 0.001). Prevalence of FH among patients at our Area is around 1.6%. Tropical fruits, as other kind of fruits, seem to share common IgE-epitopes to pollens. High prevalence of shellfish and cockroach hypersensitivity could be more easily developed by previous domestic mites sensitization.