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21-07-2010 | Respiratory | Article

HRQoL of young people with asthma improves with age

Abstract

Free abstract

MedWire News: Results from a Swedish study show that the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of young people with asthma improves significantly as they make the transition from childhood to adulthood.

"Asthma… is one of the most common chronic diseases among teenagers and adolescents and can greatly impair the quality of everyday life," explain Kerstin Sundell (Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden) and team.

They add: "In late adolescence important psychological changes occur at the same time as the teenager strives for emancipation and must make decisions of importance for his/her future."

To investigate whether there are significant changes in HRQoL among young people with asthma during this important transition from childhood to adulthood, the team enrolled 156 teenagers (69 females) with the condition who were aged an average of 17.7 years.

All the participants underwent lung function tests, skin prick tests, histamine challenge, and completed the Living with Asthma Questionnaire (LAQ) at baseline and after 2 and 5 years. Physical exercise levels were also assessed at these time points.

The researchers found that overall HRQoL was better among young men than young women at all three time points, as reflected by better mean scores on the LAQ. However, both genders showed progressively improved HRQoL at 2 and 5 years compared with baseline.

Young women who exercised regularly had better HRQoL at baseline than those who did not, at mean LAQ scores of 2.6 versus 2.3, but both groups had similar HRQoL at 5 years, with a mean LAQ score of 2.6.

HRQoL was not associated with regular exercise in young men, however.

There was no significant correlation between HRQoL and FEV1, atopy or bronchial hyper-responsiveness in either gender over the study period, although women with severe asthma had poorer HRQoL than those with mild-to-moderate disease at all time points.

Sundell and team conclude in the Clinical Respiratory Journal: "The HRQoL of adolescents with asthma improves with age.

"The pronounced positive correlation between regular exercise and HRQoL in female adolescents with asthma revealed here deserves special attention in the care of young women and deserves further exploration."

MedWire (www.medwire-news.md) is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Mark Cowen

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