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Keywords:

  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;
  • cough;
  • men;
  • quality of life;
  • urinary incontinence;
  • women

Aims and objectives.  The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of cough and urinary incontinence on quality of life in women and men with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in primary health care.

Background.  Existing information on the impact of cough and urinary incontinence on quality of life in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is scant.

Design.  A questionnaire survey.

Method.  The study included 391 women and 337 men, aged 50–75 years, with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A self-administered questionnaire consisted of CCQ and SF-12 questionnaires. A response rate of 66% was obtained. Most patients had been diagnosed with moderate (Stage II) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Results.  Women and men with urinary incontinence showed a significantly higher presence of symptomatic cough and phlegm production than did women and men without incontinence. Women with incontinence had a significantly higher burden of CCQ symptoms, functional and mental state than did women without incontinence. Concerning quality-of-life scores, women with incontinence had lower physical state scores (37·6 ± 10·4 vs. 41·4 ± 9·9; p < 0·001) and mental state scores (44·3 ± 10·2 vs. 47·1 ± 10·5; p < 0·007) than did women without incontinence. Men with incontinence had a significantly higher burden of CCQ symptoms and mental state than did men without incontinence. When examining the quality-of-life scores, men with incontinence had lower mental state scores than did men without incontinence (46·0 ± 9·7 vs. 49·8 ± 9·7; p < 0·001).

Conclusion.  The present results indicate that cough and urinary incontinence lead to poor quality of life in women and men with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Relevance to clinical practice.  In the context of primary health care, appropriate questions concerning urinary incontinence and quality of life should be included in care plans for women and men living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.