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Respir Med. 2002 Oct;96(10):759-69.

Prevalence and risk factors for asthma and chronic bronchitis in the capitals Helsinki, Stockholm, and Tallinn.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland.


The aim of this part of the FinEsS-studies was to assess whether differences existed in prevalence of asthma, chronic bronchitis, and respiratory symptoms between three Baltic capitals, and to examine risk factor profiles for respiratory conditions. In 1996, a postal survey was performed in these cities with a response rate of 72% in Stockholm, 76% in Helsinki, and 68% in Tallinn. The prevalence of physician-diagnosed asthma was 76% in Stockholm, 6.2% in Helsinki, and 2.3% in Tallinn, while respiratory symptoms were most common in Tallinn. The prevalence of physician-diagnosed chronic bronchitis was 10.6% in Tallinn, 3.4% in Helsinki, and 3.0% in Stockholm. Risk factor analyses revealed a significantly increased risk for those living in Tallinn compared to that of Stockholm for wheezing conditions, OR 1.56-1.69, longstanding cough, OR 1.92 (1.74-2.13), attacks of shortness of breath during the previous 12 months, OR 1.35 (1.20-1.52), and chronic productive cough, OR 1.49 (1.28-1.74). Subjects having symptoms common in asthma were more likely to have physician-diagnosed asthma in Stockholm and Helsinki than in Tallinn, while subjects having bronchitis symptoms had more often physician-diagnosed chronic bronchitis in Tallinn. Prevalence of respiratory symptoms was higher in Tallinn than in Stockholm and Helsinki, while physician-diagnosed asthma was more common in Stockholm and Helsinki. The prevalence of physician-diagnosed chronic bronchitis was three times as high in Tallinn as in Helsinki or Stockholm. Our results also suggest large differences in diagnostic practices between the three countries, while the differences between the capitals in true prevalence of disease may be small.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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