Specific nasal symptoms and symptom-provoking factors may predict increased risk of developing COPD

Clin Physiol Funct Imaging. 2008 Jul;28(4):240-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-097X.2008.00800.x. Epub 2008 Jul 1.


In a 1992 questionnaire study, we found that certain nasal symptoms and symptom-provoking factors were associated with prevalence of self-reported chronic bronchitis/emphysema (CBE). In this follow-up study, we examined whether any nasal features could predict an increased incidence of self-reported physician's diagnosis of CBE/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In 2000, a survey was performed similar to the one in 1992. Of a paired follow-up group of 4933 participants aged 28-67 years, 4280 (86.8%) returned the questionnaire. Odds ratios (ORs) for cumulative incidence (between 1992 and 2000) of self-reported physician-diagnosed CBE/COPD and asthma, respectively, were calculated by logistic regression with adjustment for age, gender and smoking habits. Reports of thick, yellow nasal discharge and nasal blockage in 1992 predicted incidence of CBE/COPD: OR 2.3 (1.2-4.2) and 1.8 (1.1-2.8) respectively. Moreover, nasal symptoms provoked by exposure to damp/cold air and tobacco smoke predicted CBE/COPD: OR 3.4 (1.9-6.0) and 2.5 (1.4-4.2). Nasal itching and nasal symptoms provoked by exposure to grass pollen and furred animals predicted incidence of asthma. These results suggest that certain nasal symptoms and nasal symptom-provoking exposures, different from those commonly associated with asthma, may predict increased risk of developing CBE/COPD. This supports the possibility of nasal co-morbidity in COPD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Bronchitis, Chronic / epidemiology
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Emphysema / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Nasal Obstruction / epidemiology*
  • Pollen / adverse effects*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diagnosis*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / epidemiology
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / epidemiology*
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Sneezing
  • Surveys and Questionnaires