The relationship between asthma and self-reported anxiety in a predominantly healthy adult population.

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2013 Sep 26. pii: S1081-1206(13)00642-X. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2013.08.027.

Gada E1, Khan DA1, Defina LF2, Brown ES3.

BACKGROUND: Numerous studies involving patients with severe asthma have cited a relation between asthma and anxiety; this relation is responsible for decreased quality of life, increased morbidity, and higher health care usage. However, whether a link between milder asthma and anxiety exists remains unclear.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether asthma and anxiety share an association in a group of predominantly healthy adults.

METHODS: Adults seen at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, Texas from March 2000 through January 2013 for preventive medical examinations that included an extensive medical history, including a questionnaire regarding anxiety history, a physician-based physical examination, and laboratory and spirometric testing were used in the analysis. Multiple logistic regressions were used to determine the relation between asthma and anxiety.

RESULTS: The sample consisted of 15,675 patients, of whom 1,403 (9%) had an asthma diagnosis. A sizeable majority of patients with asthma rated their health good or excellent, did not use an inhaler, and had a ratio of forced expiration volume in the first second to forced vital capacity greater than 70%. When controlling for covariates, milder asthma was significantly associated with anxiety (odds ratio 1.435, 95% confidence interval 1.238-1.663, P < .001). Smoking, a variable associated with asthma severity, was significantly associated with anxiety (odds ratio 1.432, 95% confidence interval 1.261-1.626, P < .001), although other variables, such as the ratio of forced expiration volume in the first second to forced vital capacity or use of an inhaled corticosteroid or combined inhaled corticosteroid and a long-acting β agonist, were not significantly associated with anxiety.

CONCLUSION: In this cohort of patients with predominantly mild asthma, there was a 43.5% increased risk of anxiety. All patients with asthma should be considered at a higher risk of anxiety and a target population for anxiety screening.

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