In this study, we aimed to assess the characteristics in a group of newly diagnosed asthma patients living in Zonguldak province of Turkey, located in western Black Sea region which is one of the mostly polluted areas in Turkey and to determine whether any of the factors were associated with more severe disease.
We conducted a retrospective chart review of 51 newly diagnosed patients (mean age 42.8±12.7 (18-75), 16 (31.4%) male, 35(68.6%) females, 70.6% nonsmokers) seen in our institution’s asthma clinic in 2003 and recorded the patient characteristics and laboratory and clinical data including the severity of asthma in each patient.
We found allergen sensitization(either by skin prick test and/or specific IgE) in 16 of 51 patients(31.4%): house dust mite in 13.5%, pollen in 7.7% and mixed allergen sensitization in 9.6% respectively. Mean duration of symptoms was 5.8 years, and mean %predicted FEV1 was 81.9±20.36. Of 24(47%) nonsmoking females, all housewives, 83%(20/24) were nonatopic. Patients were grouped as mild, moderate and severe asthma (27 mild(%52.9), 16 moderate(31.4%) and 8 severe(15.7%)). We compared these factors by chi square analysis and used pearson correlation to determine whether any of these characteristics were associated with more severe asthma. Rhinitis, chronic sinusitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease, bronchiectasis and psychiatric problems were reported in 15(29.4%), 16(31.4%), 10(19.6%), 9(17.6%) and 5(9.8%) patients respectively. Increasing age, symptom duration, and chronic sinusitis were independently associated with more severe asthma (p=0.004, p=0.04 and p=0.025 respectively). Chronic sinusitis was also correlated with lower FEV1 predicted (p=0.029). We did not find any correlation between asthma severity and atopy, cigarette smoking, gastroesophageal reflux disease and other factors.
This study confirms earlier studies showing that chronic sinusitis is an important comorbid condition in patients with asthma being associated with greater asthma severity.
The fact that majority of our patients were nonatopic and female housewives led us to consider especially indoor and outdoor pollution as an important risk factor that need to be further investigated in our population.
M.M. Tor, None.