Although a substantial body of epidemiological and economic literature on asthma exists, relatively little is known about the impact of asthma on health-related quality of life (HRQL). The purpose of this review was to synthesize results from recent studies, profile the factors influencing HRQL in asthmatics, discuss the impact of treatment on HRQL outcomes, and offer recommendations for further research. The results of this review support the premise that asthma can adversely affect the physical, psychological, and social domains of HRQL. Published data suggest that females, those from lower socioeconomic groups, and ethnic minorities experience poorer quality of life as a result of their asthma symptoms. Results of published clinical trials indicate treatment regimens can have a significant impact on HRQL outcomes. Pharmacological interventions appear to effect change primarily in the physical domain and behavioral interventions lead to improvements in both physical and psychosocial domains. Future research should focus on precise a priori delineation of research hypotheses, including the selection of primary and secondary endpoints, the clarification and consistent application of criteria for defining asthma severity, thoughtful selection of HRQL instruments appropriate for the research hypotheses and target population, and careful delineation of clinically meaningful change scores of asthma-specific outcome measures.
- Chronic airways obstruction
- Quality of life
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine