The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Prevalence of untreated asthma in a population sample of 6000 older adults in Bristol, UK

Dow, L., Fowler, L., Phelps, L., Waters, K., Coggon, D., Kinmonth, A.L. and Holgate, S.T. (2001) Prevalence of untreated asthma in a population sample of 6000 older adults in Bristol, UK Thorax, 56, (6), pp. 472-476. (doi:10.1136/thorax.56.6.472).

Record type: Article


Background: A study was undertaken to estimate the prevalence of untreated asthma in older adults.

Methods: A cross sectional population based survey of 6000 men and women aged 65 years and over was performed in 21 general practices in north Bristol, south west England. The main outcome measure was untreated asthma as defined by a two stage process comprising a respiratory questionnaire (symptoms suggestive of asthma or doctor diagnosed asthma not receiving respiratory treatment) followed by lung function tests (significant reversibility following bronchodilators or corticosteroids and/or significant within day variability in peak expiratory flow).

Results: 4792 of the 6000 participants (80%) completed the respiratory questionnaire and, of those not receiving respiratory treatment, 55 reported a previous doctor diagnosis of asthma and a further 696 had symptoms suggestive of asthma. Lung function testing in 280 of 501 randomly selected individuals from these groups resulted in 38 being defined as having asthma and an estimated population prevalence for untreated asthma of 2.4% (95% CI 1.6% to 3.6%) in men and 1.2% (95% CI 0.7% to 2.1%) in women. Most subjects (84%) with untreated asthma had moderate or severe disease. Untreated asthma was most common in individuals with doctor diagnosed asthma (21%) and those with breathlessness or wheeze (13-20%).

Conclusion: Untreated asthma in the elderly is a common and important problem. Opportunistic use of appropriate lung function tests in older people with a history of doctor diagnosed asthma or wheeze or breathlessness at rest could identify untreated asthmatics who might benefit from treatment.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: 2001
Keywords: aged, female, methods, research support, adult, elderly,'t, lung, physiology, humans, disease, physiopathology, forced expiratory volume, male, population, prevalence


Local EPrints ID: 27035
ISSN: 0040-6376
PURE UUID: 7460d622-d1ee-416d-95c2-e29a51cdd7ee
ORCID for D. Coggon: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 25 Apr 2006
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 16:05

Export record



Author: L. Dow
Author: L. Fowler
Author: L. Phelps
Author: K. Waters
Author: D. Coggon ORCID iD
Author: A.L. Kinmonth
Author: S.T. Holgate

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.