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Patterns of breathlessness and associated consulting behaviour: results of an online survey


The online British Lung Foundation Breath Test provides an opportunity to study the relationship between breathlessness, common sociobehavioural risk factors and interaction with healthcare. We analysed data from 356 799 responders: 71% were ≥50 years old and 18% were smokers. 20% reported limiting breathlessness (Medical Research Council breathlessness score ≥3), and the majority of these (85%) worried about their breathing; of these, 29% had not sought medical advice. Of those who had, 58% reported that the advice received had not helped their breathlessness. Limiting breathlessness was associated with being older, physically inactive, smoking and a higher body mass index. These data suggest a considerable unmet need associated with breathlessness as well as possibilities for intervention.

  • breathlessness
  • health care service
  • health seeking behaviour
  • unmet need
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