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Eur Respir J. 2001 Apr;17(4):596-603.

Prevalence of nasal symptoms and their relation to self-reported asthma and chronic bronchitis/emphysema.

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Dept of Community Health Sciences, Umeå University, Sweden.


Little information is available on associations between rhinitis and chronic bronchitis/emphysema (CBE). Self-reported upper airway symptoms, asthma, and CBE were examined in 12,079 adults living in southern Sweden. The response rate was 70% (n=8,469), of whom 33% reported significant nasal symptoms: a blocked nose was reported by 21%; sneezing by 18%; nasal discharge by 17%; and thick yellow nasal discharge by 5.7%. Nasal symptoms and combined nasal and self-reported bronchial disease were generally more common among smokers than nonsmokers. There was little overlap between asthma and CBE, but 46% of those with asthma and 40% of those with CBE had significant nasal symptoms. Best predicting factors (odds ratios >3) for asthma and CBE were nasal symptoms due to exposure to animals and damp/cold air, respectively. One-third of an adult, southern Swedish population, had significant allergic and/or nonallergic nasal symptoms. Nasal symptoms were frequently found to coexist with both asthma and chronic bronchitis/emphysema, suggesting that pan-airway engagement is common in both diseases. Differing associations between types of nasal symptoms and allergic and irritant triggers of nasal symptoms, with regard to asthma and chronic bronchitis/emphysema, emphasize the different natures of these bronchial diseases.

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