The impacts of cough: a cross-sectional study in a Finnish adult employee population
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CitationKoskela, HO. Lätti, AM. Pekkanen, J. (2018). The impacts of cough: a cross-sectional study in a Finnish adult employee population. ERJ open research, 4 (4) , 00113. 10.1183/23120541.00113-2018.
Given the very high prevalence of cough, little is known about its impacts.
A questionnaire was sent via e-mail to all public service employees in two towns in Finland. There were 373 subjects with acute cough, 174 with subacute cough and 421 with chronic cough. Cough-related quality of life was assessed with the Leicester Cough Questionnaire (LCQ) and depressive symptoms with Patient Health Questionnaire-2. In addition, data on doctor's visits and sick leave days were collected.
Mean LCQ (95% CI) total scores were 16.2 (15.9–16.5), 14.5 (14.1–15.0) and 14.6 (14.3–14.9) among subjects with acute, subacute and chronic cough, respectively (p<0.001). The prevalence of depressive symptoms was 5.4%, 7.5% and 4.8%, respectively, and 5.0% among subjects without current cough (p=0.50). The respective proportions of subjects with at least one doctor's visit due to cough during the previous year were 27.6%, 44.8%, 49.6% and 16.1% (p<0.001). The respective proportions of subjects with at least one sick leave day due to cough during the previous year were 28.9%, 39.1%, 36.3% and 15.3% (p<0.001). Any current cough was associated with an increased the risk of several (three or more) yearly doctor's visit due to any reason (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1.49, 95% CI 1.27–1.76) and several (seven or more) yearly sick leave days due to any reason (aOR 1.43, 95% CI 1.22–1.68).
Cough decreases quality of life, and has a large socioeconomic impact by increasing doctor's visits and sick leave days. However, it is not associated with depressive symptoms. The impacts of subacute and chronic cough are comparable, and larger than those of acute cough.