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Change in prevalence of restrictive lung impairment in the U.S. population and associated risk factors: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1988–1994 and 2007–2010
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    Background

    Data for the U.S adult population from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) were used to evaluate risk factors for a restrictive pattern on spirometry and estimate the change in its prevalence from the 1988–1994 to 2007–2010 sampling periods. Several previous epidemiologic studies used the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease fixed forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1)/forced vital capacity (FVC) > 0.70 criteria for classifying restrictive pattern rather than the age-defined American Thoracic Society (ATS)/European Respiratory Society (ERS) lower limit of normal (LLN) criteria, which may lead to misclassification.

    Methods

    Spirometry measurements from NHANES data for the 1988–1994 and 2007–2010 periods were analyzed to estimate the age-standardized prevalence of a restrictive pattern on spirometry and the change in prevalence over time for adults aged 20–79. A restrictive pattern was defined based on ATS/ERS LLN criteria as FEV1/FVC > LLN and FVC < LLN, and a moderate to more severe restrictive pattern was further evaluated using FEV1 < 70% predicted. The associations between demographic and other individual risk factors for restrictive lung impairment were examined using multivariable logistic regression models for the two consecutive time periods.

    Results

    The overall age-standardized prevalence of restrictive pattern decreased significantly from 7.2% (1988–1994) to 5.4% (2007–2010) (p = 0.0013). The prevalence of moderate to more severe restrictive pattern also decreased significantly from 2.0% to 1.4% (p = 0.023). Factors positively associated with restrictive pattern on spirometry included age, female sex, white race, lower education, former and current smoking, and comorbidities including doctor-diagnosed cardiovascular disease, doctor-diagnosed diabetes, and abdominal obesity.

    Conclusions

    The overall prevalence of restrictive pattern and moderate to more severe restrictive pattern decreased between the 1988–1994 and 2007–2010 survey periods despite a population increase in the proportion of comorbidities associated with restrictive pattern (i.e. diabetes and abdominal obesity). This suggests a decline in individual risk factors for restrictive pattern and a need for future research.

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