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Scand J Prim Health Care. 2013 Mar;31(1):36-42. doi: 10.3109/02813432.2012.751697. Epub 2013 Jan 7.

Symptom reporting in a general population in Norway: results from the Ullensaker study.

Author information

1
Department of General Practice, Institute of Health and Society, University of Oslo, N-0318 Oslo, Norway. mona.kjeldsberg@medisin.uio.no

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the number of symptoms experienced in an adult population and their relationship with self- reported health, demographic, and lifestyle factors.

DESIGN:

A postal questionnaire addressing 23 different symptoms, health, demographic, and lifestyle factors.

SETTING:

The community of Ullensaker, Norway, in 2004. Subjects. 3325 subjects (participation rate = 54.4%).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:

Number of self-reported symptoms.

RESULTS:

At least one symptom was reported by 91.9% of the participants, 46.7% reported six or more, and 17.3% reported 10 or more symptoms. Symptom reporting was frequent in all age groups, also among young people. Women reported a greater mean number of symptoms than men (6.7 vs. 5.1). Those reporting poor health, receipt of social security benefit, unemployment, low education, or obesity had most symptoms. The proportion of respondents with these characteristics increased almost linearly with increasing number of symptoms. According to an adjusted multivariate model, self-reported overall health explained 28.2 % of the variance in the number of symptoms.

CONCLUSION:

A large proportion of the responders reported a high number of symptoms. A simple method of counting symptoms may be useful in approaching patients in general and multi-symptom patients in particular, because the total burden of symptoms is strongly associated with the patient's self-reported health and may even be a predictor of future disability.

PMID:
23293843
PMCID:
PMC3587302
DOI:
10.3109/02813432.2012.751697
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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