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Free Content Bronchial hyperresponsiveness in two populations with different prevalences of atopy

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SETTING: Random population samples of young adults from Tartu, Estonia (n = 307) and Uppsala, Sweden (n = 498) in the framework of the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS).

OBJECTIVE: To compare the prevalence and risk factors for bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) to methacholine in two centres with similar climate and ethnicity but differences in the prevalence of atopy, asthma and respiratory symptoms.

DESIGN: General population-based cross-sectional survey.

RESULTS: The prevalence of BHR using the cut-off points 1.5, 1.0 and 0.5 mg was 19%, 12% and 8% in Tartu and 11%, 7% and 2%, respectively, in Uppsala. Current smoking was a common risk factor for BHR in both centres. Female sex (odds ratio [OR] 2.9), sensitisation to cat (OR 5.9) and visible mould in the home (OR 2.4) were independent risk factors for BHR in Tartu. In Uppsala, BHR was significantly associated with total IgE levels (OR 2.0) and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (OR 3.3).

CONCLUSION: The high prevalence of BHR can explain the high prevalence of respiratory symptoms in Tartu and indicates that causes other than asthma and atopy can be responsible for the high prevalence of BHR in a population.
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Keywords: asthma; bronchial hyperresponsiveness; epidemiology; methacholine; prevalence

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Lung Clinic, Tartu University Clinics, Tartu, Estonia; and Department of Medical Sciences, Respiratory Medicine and Allergology, Akademiska Sjukhuset, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden 2: Department of Medical Sciences, Respiratory Medicine and Allergology, Akademiska Sjukhuset, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden; and Asthma Research Centre, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden 3: Centre for Allergy Research and Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Publication date: October 1, 2004

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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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