The added burden of comorbidity in patients with asthma

J Asthma. 2009 Dec;46(10):1021-6. doi: 10.3109/02770900903350473.


Objective: Compare the prevalence of comorbidities in adults with and without asthma in Canada and investigate the association between comorbidities in patients with asthma and the occurrence of asthma symptoms or attacks.

Methods: Survey data from the 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) were analyzed. A total of 132,221 Canadians participated in the national survey; 10,089 adult respondents from 10 Canadian provinces and 3 territories reported having asthma. Analyses focused on 11 major chronic comorbidities.

Results: Respondents with asthma were more likely to have comorbidities except cancer; 31% of respondents with asthma and comorbidities reported their health status to be fair or poor. For respondents with asthma, non-asthma chronic respiratory disease, mental illness, and allergy were significantly associated with having asthma symptoms or attacks.

Conclusions: Many Canadians with asthma report a high comorbidity burden. These patients will likely require more health services and more complex health management strategies. Comorbid conditions should be clearly identified with particular emphasis on management of mood disorders and anxiety because these conditions are likely to increase asthma symptomatology and may be unrecognized by clinicians.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthritis / epidemiology
  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Canada
  • Comorbidity
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Health Surveys*
  • Heart Diseases / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Peptic Ulcer / epidemiology
  • Rheumatic Diseases / epidemiology
  • Sex Factors
  • Young Adult