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Multiple symptoms in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Norway


Correspondence address: Signe Berit Bentsen, Department of Health Education, Stord/Haugesund University College, Bjørnsonsgate 45, 5528 Haugesund, Norway. Email:


This paper examines the prevalence of multiple symptoms and the relationships between future expectations and multiple symptoms in a cross-sectional study of 100 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A questionnaire was used to examine the patients’ symptoms of breathlessness, anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, fatigue, and pain, and their outlook for the future. All patients reported breathlessness, 64% anxiety, 69% depression, 28% sleeplessness, 72% fatigue, and 45% pain. Those with anxiety reported significant depression (P < 0.001), and those with fatigue reported significant depression (P = 0.004). Patients who reported pain also reported significant sleeplessness (P = 0.022). A negative outlook for the future was reported by 42% of patients who also reported significantly more anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, fatigue, and pain (P ≤ 0.049). Multiple symptoms are common in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and patients with a pessimistic view of the future reported more symptoms. Those with multiple symptoms and a negative outlook toward the future may benefit from interventions to help them achieve a more positive outlook for the future, which may relieve symptom burden.