Respiratory symptoms in Greenlanders living in Greenland and Denmark: a population-based study

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Abstract

Background:

Knowledge of respiratory diseases in an arctic population with increasingly westernized lifestyles provides the opportunity to obtain new information in this field.

Objective:

To investigate the influence of environment and lifestyle on the presence of respiratory symptoms in a genetically homogenous population sample living under widely differing conditions.

Methods:

Greenland is a part of Denmark, but its climate is mainly arctic, as opposed to the temperate climate of southern Denmark. A random sample of Inuits who had immigrated to Denmark and Inuits from 3 towns and 4 remote settlements in Greenland were studied. Of the 6,695 invited Inuits, 4,162 (62%) completed a questionnaire concerning respiratory symptoms and risk factors.

Results:

Of the 4,162 Inuits, 847 (20%) had respiratory symptoms. Bronchitis was more frequent in the areas of Greenland than in Denmark (26% and 20% vs 13%; P = .001), whereas the pattern of asthma was contradictory (6% and 9% vs 10%; P = .057). Bronchitis was associated with living area (P = .01), tobacco consumption (P < .001), and asthma (P = .001), whereas asthma was related to living area (P = .03), hay fever (P < .001), low intake of whale (P = .04), years in Denmark (P = .09), and bronchitis (P < .001).

Conclusions:

Inuits' prevalence of bronchitis and asthma differed, with a higher frequency of bronchitis and a lower frequency of asthma in Inuits living in Greenland compared with Denmark. Living conditions or areas, diet, tobacco use, climate, and atopy are important for the presence of symptoms.

Conclusions:

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2004;93:76- 82.

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