This study investigates the relationship between responses to a lung health questionnaire and measured pulmonary function using spirometry.
Community-based, cross-sectional study design using a convenient sample of adults. A total of 567 adults, ages from 18 to 86 years, mean age of 45 ± 15.48; 36.5% males and 63.5% females; 24.3% African American, 53.8% Caucasian, 14.6% Latino/Hispanic, and 5.5% of other race/ethnicity. Lung function was measured by spirometry; an 18-item questionnaire was administered to adults attending health fairs in Western New York State over a period of two years (2003-2005).
Asthma prevalence was 19.6%. Persons who reported three or four symptoms, namely: wheeze, night cough, wheezing with exercise, and long-lasting colds, in the preceding 12 months had a lower percent predicted value for the forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1) (F=5.92, p=.015 and p=.001, respectively) than persons who did not report any symptoms of asthma. Persons who had health care utilization for asthma in the preceding 12 months had lower percent predicted FEV1 values (<75%) than persons who had not (p=.000, OR=3.62, CI=2.18-6.02). The same relationship was seen for mid-expiratory flow rate (MEFR 25/75) (p=.000, OR=2.62, CI=1.66-4.15). As the frequency of self-reported health care utilization increased, abnormal FEV1 measurements increased (B=-1.250, p=.001), and the ratio of FEV1 to the forced vital capacity (FEV1/FVC) decreased by -.131 standard deviations, S.E.=.001, p=.017.
These results indicate that self-reported symptoms of asthma in thelung health questionnaire are associated with decreased pulmonary function and increased health care utilization.
The results demonstrate that self-reported symptoms may be used as a cost-effective method for actual pulmonary function where spirometry is unavailable.
Jamson Lwebuga-Mukasa, None.