Introduction: As the population ages, the impact of asthma in the elderly is expected to be enhanced over the forthcoming decades. We investigated the prevalence of asthma and its socioeconomic factors in the elderly, Shiraz, Iran.
Methods: In this population-based study, 1527 subjects older than 60 years were selected based on the stratified random sampling method. The data on asthma symptoms, current asthma, physician diagnose asthma, and allergic rhinitis were collected using the translated ECRHS questionnaire. Information on individual socioeconomic status was derived from the participants’ self-reported educational level and their occupation, income, and residence. A p-value of less than 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant.
Results: The prevalence of asthma, current asthma, physician diagnose asthma, and allergic rhinitis was found to be 8.97%, 6.81%, 4.78% and, 23.51%, respectively. The most common asthma symptoms were nocturnal chest tightness (15.52%, n= 237/1527). In univariate analysis, the prevalence of asthma was higher in illiterate patients (12.7%), subjects with the lowest income level (10.6%), and patients living in urban areas (24.1%). Having age more than 80 (OR, 2.01; 95% CI= 1.10- 3.65), being a current smoker (OR, 2.76; 95% CI= 1.69- 4.51) and living in a suburban area (OR, 3.01; 95% CI= 1.20- 7.50) were significant predictive factors for asthma in the regression model.
Conclusions: Asthma and allergic rhinitis in the elderly should be more focus in the southwest of Iran. Moreover, our findings highlighted the effect of socio- economic status, disparities and inequality on community health.
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