BACKGROUND: The burden of asthma and rhinitis on health-related quality of life (HRQL) among adults has been assessed mainly in studies of patients seeking health-care, while population-based studies are relatively scarce. The objective of this study was to investigate HRQL among subjects with asthma and rhinitis derived from a random population sample and to identify factors related to impairment of HRQL.
METHODS: A randomly selected cohort was invited to participate in a postal questionnaire survey. Of those who responded, a stratified sample of 1016 subjects was invited to clinical examinations and interviews, and 737 subjects in ages 21-86 years participated. Of these, 646 completed HRQL questions. HRQL was assessed with the generic SF-36 Health Survey.
RESULTS: The physical score was lower among subjects with asthma vs. subjects without asthma (p < 0.001). No significant difference was found in the mental score. Subjects with well-controlled asthma had higher physical score compared to subjects with partly and un-controlled asthma (p = 0.002). Actually, subjects with well-controlled asthma had similar physical HRQL as subjects without asthma. Asthmatics who were current smokers had lower physical score compared to those who were non-smokers (p = 0.021). No significant differences in physical or mental scores were found between subjects with and without rhinitis. Subjects with both asthma and rhinitis had lower physical score compared to subjects without these conditions (p < 0.001), but subjects with asthma alone had even worse physical score.
CONCLUSIONS: The physical score was significantly lower in asthmatics compared to subjects without asthma. Importantly, non-smoking and well-controlled asthmatics have similar HRQL compared to subjects without asthma. Thus, subjects with asthma should be supported to achieve and maintain good asthma control and if they smoke, be offered smoking cessation as means to improve their HRQL.
2016. Vol. 120