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Indian J Med Res. 2011 Jul;134:91-100.

Prevalence of chronic cough, chronic phlegm & associated factors in Mysore, Karnataka, India.

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Department of Pulmonology, JSS Medical College & Hospital, JSS University, Mysore, India.



Chronic cough and chronic phlegm are important indicators of respiratory morbidity, accelerated lung function decline, increased hospitalization and mortality. This study was planned to estimate the prevalence of chronic cough and phlegm in the absence of dyspneoa and wheezing and to study its associated factors in a representative population of Mysore district.


A cross-sectional survey was planned in a representative population of Mysore taluk. Eight villages were randomly selected based on the list of villages from census 2001. Trained field workers using the Burden of Obstructive Diseases questionnaire carried out a house-to-house survey.


A total of 4333 adult subjects were enrolled in the study with 2333 males and 2000 females. The prevalence of chronic cough in the community was 2.5 per cent and that of chronic phlegm was 1.2 per cent. A significant association was observed between chronic cough and age, gender, occupation and smoking and chronic phlegm with age, gender, occupation, indoor animals and smoking. A multivariate analysis confirmed independent association of age, occupation and smoking for chronic cough and age and smoking for chronic phlegm. On sub-group analysis of males, heavy smokers had higher prevalence of chronic cough and chronic phlegm as compared to light smokers and non smokers.


The prevalence of chronic cough was 2.5 per cent and chronic phlegm was 1.2 per cent in the general population in Mysore which is lower than that observed in other studies. Heavy smoking was an important preventable risk factor identified in this study and efforts towards smoking cessation are crucial to achieve good respiratory health in the community.

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