Pollution Exposure, Obesity Linked to Poor Asthma Control

Exposure to traffic exhaust correlates with poor control, exacerbations in elderly with asthma

TUESDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- Higher exposure to traffic pollutants and obesity increase the likelihood of poor asthma control in older adults, according to a study published in the June issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Tolly G. Epstein, M.D., from the University of Cincinnati, and colleagues analyzed responses from 104 older patients with asthma (≥65 years) to the Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ). Participants, who had a physician's diagnosis of asthma and did not have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also underwent pulmonary function testing and skin prick testing for 10 common aeroallergens. A land-use regression model was used to estimate the mean daily residential exposure to elemental carbon attributable to traffic (ECAT).

The researchers found that mean daily residential exposure to ECAT greater than 0.39 µg/m³ was significantly associated with poorer asthma control as determined by ACQ scores (adjusted β, 2.85; P = 0.02). An increased risk of asthma exacerbations correlated significantly with higher ECAT levels (adjusted odds ratio, 3.24; P = 0.05). Higher body mass index correlated significantly with worse ACQ scores (adjusted β, 1.15; P < 0.001). Significantly better ACQ scores were seen in patients with a positive skin prick test than in nonatopic patients (adjusted β, −0.39; P < 0.01).

"Higher mean daily residential exposure to traffic exhaust, obesity, and nonatopic status are associated with poorer asthma control among older asthmatic patients," the authors write.

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