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Prevalence of asthma in Catalonia (Spain): a retrospective, large-scale population-based study

Mora T1*, Sánchez-Collado I1*, Mullol J2,3,4, Ribó P3,4,5, Muñoz-Cano R3,5,6 **, Valero A3,4,5**

1Research Institute for Evaluation and Public Policies. Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (UIC), Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.
2Rhinology Unit and Smell Clinic, ENT Department, Hospital Clinic, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.
3IRCE - Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS). Barcelona. Spain.
4CIBER of Respiratory Diseases (CIBERES), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, 28029 Madrid, Spain.
5Allergy Department, Hospital Clinic, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
6RICORS - Instituto de Salud Carlos III. Madrid. Spain.
*Toni Mora and Irene Sánchez-Collado shared main authorship responsibilities
**Rosa Muñoz-Cano and Antonio Valero authors shared senior responsibilities

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2024; Vol. 34(4)
doi: 10.18176/jiaci.0903

Introduction: Asthma epidemiology reports an estimated global prevalence of about 4.3-8.6% in adults, with vast differences among geographical regions. This study analyses a more significant population of asthma patients (473,737 individuals).
Objectives: To study the prevalence of medical diagnosis of asthma, overall and by age, gender, and disease severity, as well as comorbidities and type 2 biomarkers, and undergo medical treatments of a retrospective population-based asthma cohort from Catalonia (Spain).
Methodology: Individuals with a diagnosis of asthma established by medical records at different healthcare levels (primary, hospital, and emergency) from the Catalan Health System (CHS) were included. Socio-demographic characteristics, prevalence, overall and by age and gender, disease severity, comorbidities, and biomarkers of type-2 inflammation were evaluated, together with appropriate medical treatment.
Results: The overall diagnosed asthma prevalence in the population of Catalonia was 6.3%, where patients mainly had mild asthma (5.3%) and were significantly higher in females (6.8%) than males (5.7%). By age groups, asthma was more prevalent in boys and young men adults; however, being more prevalent in females above the age of 30y. The prevalence of severe asthma was 0.4%, 42.6% had uncontrolled asthma, and a high proportion (84.2%) were under systemic corticosteroid prescription. As expected, SABAs were the most prescribed drug (62.6%), followed by systemic corticosteroids (43.3%). More than half (53.8%) of patients showed type 2 inflammation.
Conclusions: Asthma prevalence in Catalonia is similar to other areas studied in Spain, with a high prevalence in women and of T2 asthma. 

Key words: Asthma, Epidemiological study, Population-based, Prevalence, Severity, Comorbidities, Type 2 biomarkers