A new survey shows that three of four people with symptomatic asthma blame the illness for a significant reduction in productivity at work. On average, asthma patients missed up to three hours of work a week, despite maintenance therapy.
The Work Productivity and Activity Impairment Survey (WPAIS), led by Boehringer Ingelheim, provided new insight into the negative impact of persistent asthma symptoms at work and the patient’s ability to perform daily activities.
WPAIS surveyed 1,598 participants with asthma who suffered symptoms of the disease while taking maintenance treatments. The international poll found approximately 74% of the asthma patients reported productivity issues at work that amounted to about three missed hours of work per week. While 9% of respondents reported complete inability to work; 67% reported sleep disturbances.
The WPAIS international survey is a recognized and validated, patient-administered, quantitative assessment of absenteeism and daily impairment triggered by a specific health problem during a seven-day period.
The recent asthma study included participants ages 18 and older from Germany, Spain, Brazil, Canada, the U.K. and Japan, who were employed full or part-time with a confirmed symptomatic asthma diagnosis and under treatment.
The survey was conducted via the THINK.ACT.BREATHE campaign; an initiative to help asthma patients identify personal risk and improve immediate and long-term risk of asthma exacerbations.
Dr. Kevin Gruffydd-Jones, lead author of the report and principal of General Practice at Box Surgery at Wilshire, in the U.K., said the findings illustrate how asthma can impact a patient’s economic burden, even while on medication.
“People with asthma often accept their symptoms and the impact they have on their daily lives. It is important that people with asthma talk to their doctor about how their asthma is affecting them at work, their sleep and daily life, and to discuss what more could be done to help them feel better and live life to the full,” Gruffydd-Jones said.
Though perceived as an easy-to-manage disease, asthma may cause physical and mental effects. Only 13% of asthma patients report no impact in regard to work. But, 23% reported feeling tired or weak at work, and 18% felt mentally strained. A startling 51% said asthma symptoms negatively effected daily chores and activities outside of the workplace.
Other studies have shown that asthma patients with symptoms are six times more likely to have an asthma attack than those with minimal-to-no symptoms during the day. Fortunately, patients can now easily access additional treatments to help manage symptoms and reducing the risk of future attacks.
“Asthma affects millions of people worldwide and most people with asthma have low expectations of what can be achieved by asthma management and don’t realise that their condition can be improved,” said Boehringer Ingelheim’s Head of Respiratory Medicine, Dr. William Mezzanotte. “Boehringer Ingelheim is committed to pursuing scientific research to help improve the understanding of the impact of symptoms on the lives of people with asthma, with the ultimate aim of improving patient care.”
The results of the survey were recently presented at the 8th International Primary Care Respiratory Group Conference (IPCRG), in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.