Objective: The majority of studies investigating the effects of allergy on the children's health-related quality of life (HRQoL) address one particular allergic disease, using a disease-specific HRQoL instrument. This work aims to assess the comparative impact on HRQoL of several allergic conditions of childhood (asthma, rhinitis, eczema, and food hypersensitivity) in a large, population-based sample of Swedish 8-year-olds.
Methods: Data were obtained from a Swedish birth cohort (BAMSE). At the 8-year follow-up, parents of 3236 children completed the standardized generic HRQoL instrument EQ-5D and reported on the children's symptoms of asthma, rhinitis, eczema, and food hypersensitivity. Information on allergic sensitization and lung function was available for a sub-sample of the children (n = 2370 and 2425, respectively).
Results: Children in the study population had a median EQ visual analog scale (VAS) of 98 (Inter Quartile Range, IQR, 90-100). The median EQ VAS was significantly lower in children with allergic diseases. Children with asthma had the lowest median EQ VAS (90, IQR 85-98) and reported the highest prevalence of problems of "pain or discomfort" (18.2%, compared to 5.5% in children without asthma). Frequent wheezing and effort-induced wheezing were associated with high prevalence of problems of "anxiety or depression" (23.3% and 15.4%, respectively).
Conclusions: Swedish 8-year-olds enjoy a good HRQoL, which though is significantly impacted by allergic diseases and particularly by asthma. Asthma symptoms are important determinants of HRQoL and symptom control should be a major goal in asthma management.