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Am Rev Respir Dis. 1987 Jul;136(1):62-8.

The relationship of nonspecific bronchial responsiveness to respiratory symptoms in a random population sample.


The relationship of airway responsiveness to respiratory symptom prevalence has been studied in a cross-sectional analysis of a random subpopulation from a large-scale population study on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) being conducted in the Netherlands. In 1,905 subjects with complete data on age, sex, area of residence, smoking habits, and respiratory symptom prevalence, airway responsiveness was assessed by a histamine challenge test. Subjects with a decrease in FEV1 of greater than or equal to 10% at a histamine concentration of less than or equal to 16 mg/ml were considered to be responders. Bronchial hyperresponsiveness appeared to be age dependent, with the proportion of responders increasing from 13% in those 14 to 24 yr of age to 40% in those 55 to 64 yr of age (p less than 0.001). Respiratory symptom outcomes included chronic cough, chronic phlegm, dyspnea, bronchitic episodes, persistent wheeze, and asthmatic attacks. Respiratory symptom prevalence rates were significantly higher in responders (p less than 0.001 for all symptoms). Cigarette smoking is known to be related to respiratory symptom prevalence and possibly to bronchial responsiveness. Because of these associations, we examined the relationship of bronchial responsiveness to respiratory symptoms within cigarette smoking categories. For all respiratory symptoms, it was found that, regardless of smoking category, responders were more likely to be symptomatic than were nonresponders. Odds ratios ranged from 1.7 for chronic cough to 4.4 for asthmatic attacks.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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