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J Allergy (Cairo). 2014;2014:898965. doi: 10.1155/2014/898965. Epub 2014 Apr 10.

Diagnosis of asthma in primary health care: a pilot study.

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1
Nordic School of Public Health, 402 42 Gothenburg, Sweden ; Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, 413 90 Gothenburg, Sweden.
2
Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, 413 90 Gothenburg, Sweden.
3
Kungsten Health Care Centre, 414 74 Gothenburg, Sweden.

Abstract

Some patients with an asthma diagnosis have a poor controlled asthma. One explanation may be an incorrect diagnosis. Aim. The aim of the study was to diagnose and classify patients with non-infectious lower respiratory tract problems in primary health care using internationally applied diagnostic criteria and diagnostic tests. Patients and Methods. New adult patients visiting a primary health care centre due to lower airway problems were included. The diagnostic tests included FEV1, FVC, PEF, two questionnaires, methacholine test, and skin prick test. Results. The patients (n = 43) could be divided into four groups: asthma (28%), asthma-like disorder (44%), idiopathic cough (12%), and a nonreversible bronchial obstructive group (16%). The asthma and asthma-like groups showed similar patterns of airway symptoms and trigger factors, not significantly separated by a special questionnaire. Phlegm, heavy breathing, chest pressure/pain, cough, and wheezing were the most common symptoms. Physical exercise and scents were the dominating trigger factors. Conclusions. Nonobstructive asthma-like symptoms seem to be as common as bronchial asthma in primary health care. Due to the similarities in symptoms and trigger factors the study supports the hypothesis that asthma and nonobstructive asthma-like disorders are integrated in the same "asthma syndrome," including different mechanisms, not only bronchial obstruction.

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