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Allergy. 2012 Nov;67(11):1408-14. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2012.02882.x.. Epub 2012 Sep 3.

Perceived stress and risk of adult-onset asthma and other atopic disorders: a longitudinal cohort study.

Author information

1
Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark. nahuro@sund.ku.dk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Psychological stress can affect airway inflammatory response to irritants and allergens, but the importance of stress in the etiology of adult-onset respiratory and dermatologic allergic disorders remains unclear. We aim to address the relationship between perceived stress and the risk of adult-onset asthma, allergic rhinitis, atopic dermatitis, and asthma/bronchitis medication.

METHODS:

Participants (n = 9785) from the Copenhagen City Heart Study, Denmark, free of atopic disorders at baseline in 1981-1983 were asked questions on stress intensity and frequency. They were followed for first-time asthma hospitalization in nationwide registers until 2010, with < 0.1% loss to follow-up. Objective measures of lung function allowed for thorough adjustment for confounding and prevented ambiguity between diagnosis of asthma and chronic obstructive lung disease. Daily intake of asthma/bronchitis medication and incidence of asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic dermatitis were assessed by self-report after 10 years of follow-up in 5648 persons.

RESULTS:

Perceived stress was associated with atopic disorders in a dose-dependent manner (P(trend)  < 0.001). High vs low stress was associated with higher risk of self-reported asthma incidence (OR = 2.32; 95% CI: 1.47-3.65), daily intake of asthma/bronchitis medication (OR = 2.26; 95% CI: 1.42-3.58), first-time asthma hospitalization (HR = 2.01; 95% CI: 1.41-2.86), allergic rhinitis (OR = 1.64; 95% CI: 0.99-2.72), and atopic dermatitis (OR = 1.75; 95% CI: 1.11-2.77). The associations were similar for smokers and nonsmokers.

CONCLUSIONS:

Stress is strongly associated with asthma incidence and hospitalization, use of asthma medication as well as with allergic rhinitis and atopic dermatitis in adults.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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