Statistically speaking, women are much more likely to be affected by asthma than men. The problem, however, is even worse than originally thought. A new study has been conducted among acute asthma patients, which shows that not only are women more likely to have the disease, they are more likely to be hospitalized during emergency room treatments for the illness.
The study, authored by Dr. Rose Chasm and other researchers, is set to be published in a forthcoming issue of The Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. The research builds on the fact that women are more likely to have asthma and suffer attacks than men. It focused specifically on those patients who enter emergency rooms for treatment
Acute Asthma and the ER
Asthma affects well over 25 million people in America alone and results in nearly 2 million emergency room visits every year. The new study shows that among those who visit the ER, women who suffer with acute asthma are a full 60 percent more likely to be admitted to the hospital than men.
Even after accounting for such factors as medications, the numbers held. Researchers believe there could be any of several factors responsible. The numbers could be related to estrogen, which can trigger inflammation. Factors such as bronchial responsiveness, differences in health maintenance and the way patients perceive airflow obstructions could also be contributors.
Many patients in the study also suffered from the chronic form of the disease, and women were slightly worse off in this area as well. Intubation had to be performed on roughly 1 percent more women than men.
Over the past year, 3 percent more women were hospitalized for asthma (13 percent vs. 12 percent). Over the course of a lifetime, the gap widens. Over 35 percent of women surveyed had been admitted to the hospital at some point in their life for asthma, while only 32 percent of men said the same.
Interestingly, men were found to be slightly more likely to visit an allergist for their condition. This could be another contributing factor to the disparity. Allergist James Sublett, President of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, pointed out that many people do not realize allergists are specialist doctors.
This specialization makes them more equipped than general practitioners to handle allergies. People who do take the time to consult with an allergist have fewer hospital stays and are much better able to keep their asthma under control, overall.
With asthma being something of an epidemic across the nation, these findings are interesting. While the study is preliminary and the sample small, it is hoped that it can shine a light on the disparity between women and men as they are affected by the disease. Hopefully with future work, this could lead to differing approaches to treating the illness in women and men, and better get a handle on the problem. If you have asthma symptoms and need a checkup, we are here to help. Give us a call today.