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Free Content A longitudinal study of changes in respiratory status in young adults, 1993–2001

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SETTING: There is little information regarding the prognosis of respiratory symptoms in early adulthood or the effects of potential risk factors.

OBJECTIVE: To observe changing respiratory morbidity in a group of young adults over a period of 6–8 years.

DESIGN: Subjects responding to three or more consecutive postal respiratory surveys carried out between 1993 and 2001 were included in the study. In addition to asthma (defined by a validated scoring system), two symptoms were examined: wheeze and being woken by cough. Five outcomes were defined: persistent, remission, new onset, never and intermittent.

RESULTS: Of 2693 subjects who responded to at least one survey, about one third were eligible for inclusion: 10.2% reported wheeze at each survey (persistent) and 3.6% had persistent asthma. Persistent wheeze was seen in almost half (46.7%) of those reporting the symptom at their first survey. The corresponding figure for asthma was 32%. New onset wheeze was found in 16.2% of subjects without wheeze at baseline (asthma 9.7%). Smoking was significantly associated with new onset wheeze (OR 1.97, 95%CI 1.30–3.00) and asthma (OR 2.14, 95%CI 1.26–3.50), but not with persistent symptoms.

CONCLUSION: These findings highlight the importance of policies to reduce smoking prevalence in young adults, and will help in the planning of future health care.

Keywords: asthma; respiratory; smoking; trend; young adults

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: General Practice Research Unit, North West Lung Research Centre, Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester, UK 2: Department of Medical Statistics, South Manchester University Hospitals NHS Trust, Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester, UK

Publication date: March 1, 2007

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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