1. Department of Public Health and Community Medicine/Primary Health Care, The Sahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg University, SE-405 30 Göteborg, Sweden
2. Neuropsychiatric Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Clinical Neurosciences, The Sahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg University, SE-405 30 Göteborg, Sweden
This study was conducted among female subjects to assess the possible association between selected risk factors and lung function as well as airway symptoms in a 32-year perspective. The Prospective Population Study of Women was initiated in 1968-1969 in Göteborg, Sweden (population about 450 000) with follow-ups in 1974-1975, 1980-1981, 1992-1993 and 2000-2001. Women born in 1930, representative of women of the same age in the general population in 1968, were selected. Initially, 372 participants were included in the cohort. In 2000-2001, 231 of these women (73%), now 70 years old, underwent lung function tests. The main outcome measures were lung function values, airway symptoms and health outcome in 2000-2001 in relation to self-reported exposures in 1968-1969 including smoking status. Smoking in 1968-1969 was associated with self-reported chronic bronchitis, obstructive symptoms and poor health 32 years later as well as lower lung function values, compared to non-smokers. Obesity, low socio-economic status and self-reported mental stress in 1968-1969 were associated with obstructive symptoms 32 years later. There are only a few longitudinal studies concerning women's health problems in this field and epidemiological studies of lung function impairment in women and risk factors in a long-term perspective are scarce. The results of the study suggest that life-style factors such as mental stress, obesity and smoking among women are related to airway symptoms and also quality of life many years later.
Keywords: Population study, female, smoking, socio-economic status, lung function