Patients with Bronchial Asthma and COPD in a Family Practice
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Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) and bronchial asthma are diseases of high clinical, demographic and socioeconomic relevance. Primary health care plays a central role for diagnosis and treatment. Aim of this study was to document prevalence and reasons for encounter of patients with COPD and bronchial asthma in family practices in Saxony, Germany, and to discuss the role of primary health care for both diseases in the context of multimorbidity.Methods: The present descriptive cross-sectional study uses results from the 4th Saxonian Epidemiological Study of Family Medicine in 2009. 73 Statutory Health Insurance doctors (28.9 %) participated and documented permanent diagnoses, reasons for encounter and treatment of asthma and COPD patients by means of a partially standardized questionnaire. In total, 2,529 doctor-patient contacts were registered.Results: The prevalence of chronic pulmonary diseases was 7.9 % (bronchial asthma 3.8 %, n = 95, and COPD 4.1 %, n = 104). The specific age group distribution for COPD patients showed a continuous increase from ≥ 45 years of age, while asthma patients had a prevalence peak in the age group of 45- to 64-years. For asthma patients, respiratory symptoms and preventive measures were the most frequent reason for encounter. The focus for COPD patients was on the treatment of chronic comorbidities, which were mainly related to cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.Conclusions: With increasing prevalence of chronic respiratory diseases in family practices in Saxony, the pressure on targeted diagnosis and therapy and a needs-adapted socio-economic cost distribution increases. An optimized comprehensive treatment should be oriented towards patients in the context of multimorbidity.