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Asthma Adversely Affects Time Spent at Work, Study Finds

Alison Rodriguez
Asthma adversely affects the everyday lives of many individuals regardless of long-term maintenance medication, according to a study evaluating the association of time spent at work and adverse asthma effects.
Asthma adversely affects the everyday lives of many individuals regardless of long-term maintenance medication. A study, published by Journal of Asthma and Allergy, evaluated the association of time spent at work and adverse asthma effects, suggesting the need for strategies to improve asthma management and workplace well-being programs.

The study included an online survey with employed adult participants who were confirmed as symptomatic with the Royal College of Physicians’ 3 Questions for Asthma tool. The Work Productivity and Activity Impairment – Specific Health Problem Questionnaire was used to assess the effects of asthma at work.

“Poorly controlled asthma is associated with reduced work productivity versus well-controlled asthma. In a European study, 24% to 59% of surveyed patients with asthma reported at least 1 day of absence from work or education in the previous year,” explained the authors. “In a US study, workers with poorly controlled asthma (39.7% of respondents) had greater work and activity impairment versus those with well-controlled asthma.”

In total, 1598 patients—of the 2055 who were screened—were symptomatic and completed the survey. The results revealed that the average percentage of work hours missed in a week due to asthma symptoms was 9.3%. However, nearly 75% of patients reported that their asthma affected their productivity at work.

Asthma was reported as responsible for 36% of work productivity loss overall. Respiratory symptoms were highlighted by many patients as the main symptom they felt at work. Additionally, tiredness, weakness, and mental strain were also noted as symptoms.

“The findings illustrate that there needs to be further awareness and understanding of the impact of psychological comorbidities associated with uncontrolled asthma,” noted the authors. “Our study has highlighted the negative emotional impact that uncontrolled asthma can have on employees in the workplace and their productivity while at work.”

The results emphasize the need for employers and occupational health teams to be aware of the effects of asthma on workers and suggests that clinicians ask patients how their asthma affects their work in order to develop new strategies.

Reference

Gruffydd-Jones K, Thomas M, Roman-Rodriguez M, et al. Asthma impacts on workplace productivity in employed patients who are symptomatic despite background therapy: a multinational survey. J Asthma Allergy. 2019;12:183-194doi: 10.2147/JAA.S204278.

 
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