Relationship between quality of life and clinical status in asthma: a factor analysis
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Many studies have shown that correlation between clinical asthma status and asthma-specific quality of life is only weak to moderate. However, this relationship has never been explored to determine whether the weakness is due to noise of measurement or whether quality of life is a distinct component of asthma health status. With a database from three clinical trials (n = 763), factor analysis was used to explore the relationships between quality of life, measured by the Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (AQLQ), and conventional measures of asthma clinical status (symptoms, airway calibre and rescue beta2-agonist use). The analysis revealed that although patients with severe, poorly controlled asthma tend to have worse quality of life than milder, well-controlled patients, overall asthma health status has four components (factors): asthma-specific quality of life; airway calibre; daytime symptoms and daytime beta2-agonist use, and night-time symptoms and night-time beta2-agonist use. The clean loading of all 21 outcomes onto four distinct and clinically identifiable factors suggests that, although some weakness of correlation between clinical indices and quality of life may be due to noise of measurement, it is mainly attributable to asthma health status being composed of distinct components.
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