When standing height (StndHt) cannot be assessed, arm span (AS) or sitting height (SitHt) has been used as surrogate variables for prediction of StndHt in adult caucasians and blacks. We examined (1) the relationship between StndHt, AS and SitHt among adult Chinese, Malays and Indians; and (2) whether anthropometry could explain the ethnic differences in lung volumes (as StndHt-adjusted lung volumes are known to differ significantly: Chinese > Malays > Indians). We recruited 1250 consecutive outpatients aged 20-90 years. Prediction equations of StndHt (with AS, SitHt, weight, age as predictors) for each subgroup of race and sex were formulated with multiple linear regressions. Equations with both AS and SitHt as predictors had the best goodness of fit (SEE = 2.37-2.85 cm, adjusted R2 = 0.67-0.87), as compared to equations with either AS (SEE = 3.00-3.91 cm, adjusted R2 = 0.58-0.80) or SitHt alone (SEE = 3.48-4.00 cm, adjusted R2 = 0.45-0.76). GLM general factorial analyses found that age- and weight-adjusted SitHt-to-StndHt ratios differed significantly among Chinese (0.539), Malays (0.529) and Indians (0.518). This paralleled the ethnic differences in lung volumes. The equations with both AS and SitHt as predictors provide the most accurate estimate of StndHt. Ethnic differences in upper body segment length may explain in part the lung volume differences.
Study site: Respiratory clinic, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore
Spirometric recordings of 1098 Malaysian children who were free of respiratory symptoms were examined by least square regression analysis of log-transformed lung function data. Ethnic differences were observed in FVC, FEV1, and FEF25-75 independent of father's education, exposure to passive smoking, wood stove, kerosene stove and mosquito repellents, family history of chest illness and history of allergy, after adjusting for standing height, age and sex. Exposure to kerosene stove was significantly associated with reduced FVC and FEV1 indicating that environmental factors may impair lung function in symptomless children. Prediction equations were derived for each ethnic group and sex. Comparison with data from the literature showed that Malaysian children had lower lung function values than Caucasian children. Generally, Chinese children had higher FEV1, FVC and FEF25-75 than Malay and Indian children. Indian children consistently had the lowest lung function values. Since these ethnic differences were independent of environmental and other host factors, anthropometric variations could be an explanation.
The potential detrimental effects of steroids on the immune system to fight viral infections had always been a concern for patients on long term steroids in chronic conditions. A recent warning from WHO on systemic corticosteroid use amid COVID-19 raised suspicion among public and healthcare professionals regarding the safety of steroid use during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. The corticosteroids (inhaled and oral) are commonly prescribed in the management of asthma and COPD patients and any unsolicited changes in medications use may lead to potentially severe exacerbations and may risk patient lives. This article provides a critical review of clinical evidence and offers a detailed discussion on the safety and efficacy of corticosteroids in asthma and COPD patients, both with and without COVID-19.