Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in Never-Smoking Bricklayers
Keywords:airflow limitation, bronchodilator reversibility testing, occupational exposure, questionnaire, spirometry.
Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) due to occupational exposures remains an important public health problem taking significant toll on the global burden of the disease.
Aim: In order to assess chronic prevalence and characteristics of COPD in bricklaying we performed a cross-sectional study including 47 never-smoking male bricklayers (aged 34 to 57 years) and an equal number of never-smoking male office workers studied as a control.
Methods: Evaluation of examined subjects consisted of completion of a questionnaire, baseline spirometry, and bronchodilator reversibility testing.
Results: We found higher prevalence of respiratory symptoms in bricklayers with significant difference for cough and phlegm. Majority of the chronic respiratory symptoms in bricklayers were work-related. The mean values of all measured spirometric parameters in bricklayers were significantly lower than in office workers. The prevalence of COPD was significantly higher in bricklayers than in office workers (14.9% vs. 4.3%, P = 0.034). COPD in both examined groups was close related to age over 45 years, while in bricklayers significant association was registered for duration of occupational exposure longer than 20 years and work-related respiratory symptoms.Conclusion: Our findings support data about relationship between occupational exposure to inorganic dust and fumes in construction workers and persistent airflow limitation.
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