The information collected in the interviews documented the presence or absence of the following symptoms: chronic cough, chronic phlegm, chronic wheezing independent of fever and chest infections, and attacks of breathlessness independent of effort. The questionnaire also recorded whether a person had been treated by a physician for bronchial asthma. On the basis of the data obtained in the three surveys, the prevalence (%) and trends were calculated separately for each category of symptoms for men and women (Tables 6 and 7). The group of “no symptoms” comprises those who denied a given symptom in all 3 surveys; “persistent symptoms/’ those with a given symptom in all 3 surveys or at least in the baseline and in the end point (denominators of the rates include all respondents interviewed 3 times); the “new cases,” those who denied a given symptom in the baseline study but reported it at the end of the follow-up (a denominator of the incidence rate comprises all persons without a given symptom at the baseline survey); “remissions,” those who reported a given symptom at the baseline and/or second survey but denied it during the final follow-up. More info
If all considered chronic symptoms are taken into account simultaneously, only 29% of males and 33% of females were free of the analyzed chronic respiratory problems during 13-year follow-up. As can be seen in Tables 6 and 7, about one sixth of the men and more than 5% of the women had at least one persistent respiratory symptom in the whole period 1968-81, and at the same time 1 of every 4 men and 1 of every 6 women in the observed sample developed some new chronic chest problem. Although chronic phlegm and chronic cough dominated other symptoms in men with regard to both prevalence and incidence, dissimilarities among symptoms in women were much smaller. Smoking had a substantial influence on the occurrence of chest problems and their changes over the study period. With die exception of a medical diagnosis of asthma, the prevalence and incidence of all other chronic respiratory complaints were significantly higher in permanent smokers than in never-smokers in both men and women.
Table 6—Prevalence and Dynamics of Chronic Chest Problems in a Sample of Adult Male Population of Cracow During 13-year Follow-up
|History of Symptoms, 1968-73-81 (% rates)||Chronic Cough||Chronic Phlegm||Wheezing||Asthma (Med Diag)||Attacks of Breathlessness|
Table 7—Prevalence and Dynamics of Chronic Chest Problems in a Sample of Adult Female Population of Cracow During 13-year Follow-up
|History of Symptoms 1968-73-81 (% rates)||Chronic Cough||Chronic Phlegm||Wheezing||Asthma (Med Diag)||Attacks of Breathlessness|
|No symptoms||73.2||79.7||52.7||70.5||75.9||53.7||77.8||82.0||62.2||92.0||92.3||92.1||83.0||85.2 73.0|
|New cases||14.4||11.2||25.0||15.8||12.2||26.9||13.0||10.5||22.1||3.5||3.4||2.3||8.3||7.0 14.5|