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Middle-Aged Men With Asthma Since Youth: The Impact of Work on Asthma

Lindström, Irmeli MD; Suojalehto, Hille MD; Pallasaho, Paula MD, PhD; Luukkonen, Ritva PhD; Karjalainen, Jouko MD, PhD; Lauerma, Antti MD, PhD; Karjalainen, Antti MD, PhD

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: August 2013 - Volume 55 - Issue 8 - p 917–923
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31828dc9c9
Original Articles

Objectives: To evaluate current occupational exposure and its associations with asthma control, exacerbations, and severity in middle-aged men with asthma from youth.

Methods: We used the Finnish Defence Force registers, 1986 to 1990, to select conscripts with asthma to represent mild or moderate asthmatic group (asthma group 1; N = 505), men who were exempted from military service to represent relatively severe asthmatic group (asthma group 2; N = 393), and a control group without asthma (N = 1500). A questionnaire was sent out in 2009.

Results: The current self-reported or expert-evaluated exposure to asthma-aggravating factors differed only slightly between the asthmatic groups and the controls. In asthma group 2, being a manual worker or self-employed (odds ratio, 4.5; 95% confidence interval, 1.2 to 16.3) significantly associated with asthma exacerbations.

Conclusions: Current work may associate with the asthma outcome of middle-aged men with relatively severe asthma in their youth.

From the Control of Hypersensitivity Diseases (Drs Lindström, Suojalehto, and Pallasaho), Statistical Services Team (Dr Luukkonen), and Surveillance of Working Conditions Team (Dr A. Karjalainen), Finnish Institute of Occupational Health; Centre of Military Medicine (Dr J. Karjalainen); Skin and Allergy Hospital (Dr Lauerma), Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland.

Address correspondence to: Irmeli Lindström, MD, Control of Hypersensitivity Diseases, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Topeliuksenkatu 41aA, 00250 Helsinki, Finland (irmeli.lindstrom@ttl.fi).

The Finnish Work Environment Fund, Finnish Defence Forces Väinö and Laina Kivi Foundation, and Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation supported this study.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2013 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine