Background: The impact of low vitamin D status on asthma, asthma morbidity and control is unclear. We aimed to investigate in adults the associations between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level and prevalent asthma as well as asthma exacerbations.
Methods: A cohort of Israeli adults aged 22-50 years with documented vitamin D status were extracted from Clalit Health Services (HMO) between July 1, 2008 and July 1, 2012. Among this population, those with physician-diagnosed asthma and asthma exacerbations were identified. Asthma exacerbations were defined as any of the following: prescription for oral corticosteroids, >5 prescriptions for short acting beta agonists and more than four visits to a physician for asthma. Logistic regression models assessed the associations between vitamin D and both asthma and asthma exacerbations.
Results: Approximately 308 000 members with at least one vitamin D measurement were included in the cohort. Among them, 6.9% (21 237) had physician-diagnosed asthma vs 5.7% in the general population. Serum 25-OHD levels across both groups were similar. However, among those with vitamin D deficiency, the odds of having an exacerbation were 25% greater compared to those with levels in the normal range. This association remained significant after controlling for known confounders.
Conclusion: While there was no significant association between vitamin D status and physician-diagnosed asthma, there was a strong association with asthma exacerbations. The presented evidence supports vitamin D screening in the subgroup of asthmatics that are uncontrolled and experience recurrent exacerbations.
Keywords: asthma; asthma control; asthma exacerbation; vitamin D; vitamin D deficiency.
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.