Asthma is a disease that mostly affects young boys and adult women. And according to a new study, women in their 40s and 50s with asthma are hospitalized more than twice as often as men in the same age group.
"Until puberty, boys have higher rates of asthma than girls," said Robert Yao-wen Lin, MD, allergist . "Then, during the menopausal years, women's hospitalization rates are double those of men in the same age group. This could indicate that asthma may have distinct biological traits."
The National Impatient Sample databases for 2000-2010 were used to calculate the ratio of female to male hospitalization rates for different decades of adult life. The highest rate of difference was found in the fifth and six decade. Common coexisting conditions, such as cigarette smoking and obesity were taken into account.
"This study reinforces that asthma is a women's health issue," said John Oppenheimer, MD, ACAAI Fellow and associate editor of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. "There is a need for more prevention and early intervention to reduce asthma hospitalization in menopausal women and reduce healthcare costs."
The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology suggests that women in their 40s and 50s with asthma make an appointment with their allergist and ask these questions:
• Do I need any change in my medications?
• What are the symptoms associated with the risk of a severe asthma attack during menopause?
• How do I keep my asthma in check and avoid needing emergency room or hospitalized treatment?