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Prevalence of Obstructive Airways Disease in the Disadvantaged Elderly of Chicago

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The prevalence of obstructive airways disease in the disadvantaged elderly population is underestimated. Consequently, asthma may be suboptimally managed in this population leading to poorer symptom control and quality of life in this group. The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of obstructive airways disease (OAD) in a disadvantaged elderly population. A crosssectional study was conducted in which we interviewed older adults at centers subsidized by the Chicago Department on Aging. Participants were individuals who agreed to complete a five-page questionnaire about their health. Three hundred eighty individuals agreed to fill out a questionnaire about their health. The mean and median age was 74 years. There were 38 (10%) individuals with self-report of doctor-diagnosed asthma, 40 (11%) individuals with doctor-diagnosed chronic bronchitis, and 14 (4%) individuals with doctor-diagnosed emphysema. They had these diagnoses for a mean of 10.4 years (range, 0 –50 years). Thirty-three (9%) individuals who did not have doctor-diagnosed disease had wheezing or whistling when they breathed and shortness of breath or cough with exercise. Of those 125 individuals with doctor-diagnosed disease or symptoms suggestive of OAD, only 22 (18%) individuals took their prescribed medications on a regular basis. Symptoms of OAD appear to be common in the disadvantaged elderly in Chicago. Based on these results, 92 (24%) individuals had doctor-diagnosed asthma, chronic bronchitis, and/or emphysema. The majority did not take their medications regularly. Another 33 (9%) individuals had symptoms compatible with OAD that had not been diagnosed or treated.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 May 2004

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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