Menopausal women with asthma are hospitalized more than twice as often as men who are the same age, researchers have found.
The findings suggest that early intervention is needed to prevent hospitalizations for asthma in menopausal women and reduce health care costs.
"Until puberty, boys have higher rates of asthma than girls. 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," allergist and study author, Dr. Robert Yao-wen Lin, said in a news release from the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI).
In conducting the study, the investigators used the National Inpatient Sample databases from 2000 through 2010 to compare the hospitalization rates of men and women for different decades of adult life.
After taking certain risk factors into account, such as cigarette smoking and obesity, the researchers found the biggest discrepancy between men and women who were admitted to the hospital for asthma occurred in their 40s and 50s.
The findings are published in the September issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
"This study reinforces that asthma is a women's health issue," Dr. John Oppenheimer, ACAAI fellow and associate editor of the journal, said in the news release. "There is a need for more prevention and early intervention to reduce asthma hospitalization in menopausal women and reduce health care costs."
The ACAAI advised women with asthma who are in their 40s and 50s to consult an allergist to ask the following questions:
- Do I need a change in my medication?
- What are the symptoms associated with the risk for a severe asthma attack during menopause?
- How do I control my asthma and avoid being hospitalized?