The patient's own perception of health the focus of a new thesis
Hello Karin Lodin, PhD student at the Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care. You are about to defend your thesis on 22 February, what is the main focus of your research?
When we get an inflammation we commonly experience diffuse sickness symptoms such as decreased appetite, fatigue, malaise, increased pain sensitivity and a wish to stay still. Those symptoms are sometimes referred to as sickness response or sickness behaviour. Sickness behaviour promotes rest and redirect energy to the immune system in order to facilitate recovery. In my thesis, I investigated how sickness behaviour and inflammatory markers affect subjective health in primary care patients and in patients with asthma.
Which are the most important results?
Sickness behaviour is an important determinant of self-rated health in both primary care patients and in patients with asthma. Increased sickness behaviour was associated with impaired self-rated health over a 12-month period. The relationship between inflammatory markers and subjective health needs further investigation.
How can this new knowledge contribute to the improvement of people’s health?
Hopefully, the patient’s subjective view of his or her health status, including sickness behaviour will become increasingly important in regular consultations since it adds important information which cannot be obtained by objective clinical measures.
What´s in the future for you? Will you keep on conducting research?
I will return to my primary health care centre to finish my residency in primary care and continue to conduct clinical research with my primary care patients. In the future, I hope to improve the care for patients experiencing diffuse sickness symptoms.