There is variation in prevalence and severity of obstructive airway disease varies among minorities throughout the United States. Previous studies have suggested factors related to genetics, socio-economic status, smoking and compliance with therapy to explain these variations. The South Bronx area in New York City has a large Hispanic population with an increasing prevalence of obstructive lung disease. We proposed to evaluate the characteristics of Hispanic patients with a diagnosis of bronchial asthma and COPD who underwent pulmonary function tests (PFTs) at our institution.
A retrospective analysis of 3243 subjects who were evaluated at the pulmonary clinic was performed. Data regarding demographics, tobacco use, diagnosis and PFTs results were collected by an independent trained investigator. Ethnicity groups were divided into Hispanics and non-Hispanics. Using stepwise logistic regression, odds ratios were calculated and 95% confidence intervals were reported. A p-value < 0.05 was considered significant.
Among 3243 patients included, 75.9% were Hispanic. Using univariate analysis, we noted that the Hispanic group was at increased odds of older age, female gender, and being obese or overweight (see Table 1). In multivariate analysis, age, gender and asthma subjects were independently related to Hispanic ethnicity. Presence of abnormalities on PFTs and BMI were not statistically significant (see Table 2).
Our study demonstrates that Hispanic ethnicity is significantly associated with the diagnosis of bronchial asthma. Interestingly, PFT abnormalities and obesity (BMI > 25) were not statistically significant.
Our study is consistent with previous reports that have suggested that Hispanic ethnicity is associated with bronchial asthma. This has been attributed to genetic variations, low socio-economic status, poor compliance to medications and decreased access to medical care. Awareness of this risk factor among clinicians is important and it can be used in early diagnosis, education and treatment of asthma in inner-city areas. In addition, the presence of abnormalities on PFTs or obesity should not influence the diagnostic work up of bronchial asthma among the Hispanic population.
Raghu Loganathan, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information