Objective:We aimed to calculate the nationwide prevalence of current cough, and to explore the factors underlying the epidemiology in Korean general adult populations.
Methods:We analyzed cross-sectionally the Korean National Health And Nutritional Examination Survey (KNHANES) database surveyed during 2010-2012. Presence and duration of current cough was defined by structured questionnaires, and classified as acute (<3 weeks), subacute (3-8 weeks), and chronic (> 8 weeks). Demographic and clinical parameters were also examined in relation to cough. Weighted prevalence of cough according to duration was calculated, and risk factors with cough were evaluated by using multivariate logistic regression.
Results:Among a total of 18,071 adults, 5.9% (n=1,076) had current cough. Among the subjects with current cough, proportions of acute, subacute, and chronic cough were 43.1%, 13.1%, and 43.8%, respectively. Of those with chronic cough, 65.4% had been coughing longer than 1 years. The epidemiology of cough significantly differed between age groups; acute cough was more prevalent in younger adults (18-45 years old), whereas chronic cough was significantly more prevalent in elderly subjects (≥ 65 years old). Prevalence of chronic cough increased with aging in both gender (in males, 2.4% in subjects aged 18-45 years, 3.4% in subjects aged 45-65 years, and 5.4% in subjects aged ≥65 years; in females, 1.2%, 1.9% and 3.9%, respectively; both p for trends <0.01). After adjusting for demographic and risk factors, several factors were associated with chronic cough independent of age: current smoking, chest X-ray abnormality, HbA1c and rhinitis or rhinosinusitis (all p<0.05). In female, menopause and estrogen replacement therapy were also related with chronic cough (all p<0.05).
Conclusion: The present study indicates a considerable epidemiological burden of cough in Korean general adult populations. The epidemiology of cough significantly differed between age groups. These findings warrant further elucidation for various factors underlying a high burden of chronic cough in older adults.