The burden of chronic breathlessness across the population

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Purpose of reviewChronic breathlessness is a common and distressing symptom globally. It is associated with major adverse health outcomes. This review provides an overview of new evidence about the prevalence of chronic breathlessness in the population.Recent findingsA literature search was conducted using MEDLINE database including studies on prevalence of chronic breathlessness and its impact on the community published between 2016 and 2018. Identified studies were divided into four themes: breathlessness in relation to sex, BMI, quality of life and age (the elderly). In the general population, breathlessness was twice as common in women as in men related to their smaller absolute lung volumes. Obesity was to be found an independent risk factor for chronic breathlessness. A strong association between chronic breathlessness and poor physical and mental health-related quality of life was found across all adult age groups. Among elderly people, breathlessness predicted activity of daily living decline over 5 years.SummaryInteresting large population-based studies published recently have shed light on the association between chronic breathlessness and sex, obesity, quality of life and increasing age.

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