Activities foregone because of chronic breathlessness: A cross-sectional, population prevalence study

Slavica Kochovska, Sungwon Chang, Deidre Morgan, Diana Ferreira, Manraaj Sidhu, Rayan Saleh Moussa, Miriam Johnson, Magnus Ekstrom, David Currow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Chronic breathlessness is a prevalent disabling syndrome affecting many people for years. Identifying the impact of chronic breathlessness on people's activities in the general population is pivotal for designing symptom management strategies.
Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the association between chronic breathlessness and activities respondents identify can no longer be undertaken (“activities forgone”).
Design: This population-based cross-sectional online survey used a market research company's database of 30,000 registrants for each sex, generating the planned sample size—3000 adults reflecting Australia's 2016 Census by sex, age group, state of residence, and rurality.
Setting/Subjects: The population of focus (n = 583) reported a modified Medical Research Council (mMRC) breathlessness scale ≥1 and experienced this breathlessness for ≥3 months.
Measurements: Activities forgone were categorized by mMRC using coding derived from the Dyspnea Management Questionnaire domains. Activities were classified as “higher/lower intensity” using Human Energy Expenditure scale.
Results: Respondents were male 50.3%; median age 50.0 (IQR 29.0); with 66% living in metropolitan areas; reporting 1749 activities forgone. For people with mMRC 1 (n = 533), 35% had not given up any activity, decreasing to 9% for mMRC 2 (n = 38) and 3% for mMRC 3–4 (n = 12). Intense sport (e.g., jogging and bike riding) was the top activity forgone: 42% (mMRC 1), 32% (mMRC 2), and 36% (mMRC 3–4). For respondents with mMRC 3–4, the next most prevalent activities forgone were “sexual activities” (14%), “lower intensity sports” (11%), and “other activities” (11%).
Conclusions: People progressively reduce a wide range of activities because of their chronic breathlessness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-170
Number of pages5
JournalPalliative Medicine Reports
Volume1
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

This Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Keywords

  • breathlessness
  • dyspnea
  • symptom
  • symptom assessment

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    Kochovska, S., Chang, S., Morgan, D., Ferreira, D., Sidhu, M., Saleh Moussa, R., Johnson, M., Ekstrom, M., & Currow, D. (2020). Activities foregone because of chronic breathlessness: A cross-sectional, population prevalence study. Palliative Medicine Reports, 1(1), 166-170. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/pmr.2020.0083