Organisation of Asthma in Primary Care, Quality of Life and Sex-related Aspects in Asthma Outcomes
Abstract: Objectives: To investigate the organisation of asthma care in primary care and evaluate outcomes for patients attending primary care centres with and without asthma clinics.Other objectives were to study the association between quality of life and asthma control in patients in primary care and to analyse sex differences regarding asthma outcomes related to menopausal status.Material and methods: Cross-sectional surveys and a patient record study.Results: Of all the primary health care centres, 77% had a spirometer and 53% an asthma clinic. At centres with asthma clinics 77% of the patients reported sufficient knowledge of asthma as compared with 65% at centres without asthma clinics (p<0.001). With more time allocated for the nurse, 44% of patients achieved asthma control as compared with 27% at asthma clinics with less time (p<0.003). Patients using short-acting beta-2 agonists more than twice in the last week had clinically significant lower MiniAQLQ scores (5.17 versus 5.91). This finding also held for night awakenings during the previous week (4.42 versus 5.86), courses of oral corticosteroids (5.26 versus 5.64) and reported emergency consultations during the last six months (4.85 versus 5.71). Premenopausal women had significantly lower total MiniAQLQ scores than men in the same age group (5.44 versus 5.89, p<0.001), while no difference was found between postmenopausal women and men of similar ages. The adjusted odds for premenopausal women for asthma exacerbations was 2.0 (95%CI 1.22-3.43) as compared with men in the same age group. No differences were found when comparing postmenopausal women with men of similar ages.Conclusions: Half the primary health care centres had an asthma clinic and the majority had access to a spirometer. Patients at primary health care centres with asthma clinics reported better knowledge of their disease, and asthma control is more often achieved if the nurse is allocated more time. Achieving asthma control is associated with better quality of life in patients in primary care. Premenopausal women had lower quality of life and less often asthma control then men of the same ages, while no corresponding difference was found between postmenopausal women and men of similar ages.
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