To estimate the magnitude of work loss and functional limitations due to obstructive lung disorders (OLD) in the US population.
A retrospective analysis was conducted of the 2001 National Health Interview Survey, a nationally representative survey sample of approximately 33,000 persons in the United States. Measures of interest included annual bed days, annual days of work loss, physical limitations and emotional health. OLD was defined as self-reported asthma, chronic bronchitis, or emphysema. The remainder of the surveyed population was used as a control group. The excess burden of OLD was estimated based on the observed difference in each health indicator between the OLD and control groups. National projections were made for work-loss days and bed days.
A total of 3,904 adults 18+ years of age reported OLD in 2001; 7.0% reported asthma in the past 12 months, and 5.7% and 1.6% had ever been told by a healthcare professional that they had chronic bronchitis or emphysema, respectively. Although the mean age of persons with OLD was similar to controls (48 vs 46 years, respectively), the percentage of females was much higher in the OLD group (67% vs 55% for controls). The mean number of bed days per year was 11.3 (95% CI 9.55, 12.99) for the OLD group compared with 4.2 (CI 3.84, 4.50) for controls. Similarly, the mean annual number of missed workdays among working age adults was higher for those with OLD (7.9 [CI 6.88, 8.89] vs 4.2 [CI 3.84, 4.50]). The percent of persons with physical limitations, or hopeless feelings, was approximately twice as high in adults with OLD than among controls.
In aggregate terms, OLD is associated with an additional 165 million bed days annually among U.S. adults, and approximately 67 million excess days of work loss.
OLD leads to substantial work loss, which poses a burden on employers and society as a whole.
S. Enuha, None.