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Objective: The aim of the study was to evaluate determinants for the prognosis of asthma in a population-based cohort of young adults. Design: The study was a nine-year clinical follow up of 239 asthmatic subjects from an enriched population-based sample of 1,191 young adults, aged 20-44 years, who participated in an interviewer-administered questionnaire and clinical examination at baseline in 2003-2006. From the interview, an asthma score was generated as the simple sum of affirmative answers to five main asthma-like symptoms in order to analyse symptoms of asthma as a continuum. The clinical examination comprised spirometry, bronchial challenge or bronchodilation, and skin prick test. Results: Among the 239 individuals with asthma at baseline 164 (69%) had persistent asthma at follow up, while 68 (28%) achieved remission of asthma and seven (3%) were diagnosed with COPD solely. Determinants for persistent asthma were use of medication for breathing within the last 12 months: Short-acting beta-adrenoceptor agonists (SABA) only (OR 3.39; 95%CI: 1.47-7.82) and inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) and/or long-acting beta-adrenoceptor agonists (LABA) (8.95; 3.87-20.69). Stratified by age of onset determinants for persistence in individuals with early-onset asthma (age less than 16 years) were FEV₁ below predicted (7.12; 1.61-31.50), asthma score at baseline (2.06; 1.15-3.68) and use of ICS and/or LABA within 12 months (9.87; 1.95-49.98). In individuals with late-onset asthma the determinant was use of ICS and/or LABA within 12 months (6.84; 2.09-22.37). Conclusions: Pulmonary function below predicted, severity of disease expressed by asthma score and use of ICS and/or LABA were all determinants for persistent early-onset asthma, whereas only use of ICS and/or LABA was a determinant in late-onset asthma. A high asthma score indicated insufficient disease control in a substantial proportion of these young adults.