Middle-Aged Women at Higher Risk for Asthma Hospitalization
A new study suggests that women aged 40 to 60 with asthma are admitted to hospital more than twice as often as males in the same age group.
Drawing on a decade’s worth of data from the National Inpatient Sample databases, researchers from New York’s Downtown Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical College found that for all of the years in the study (2000-2010), the ratio of female-to-male asthma patients in hospital peaked around the fifth and sixth decade of life, with the females outnumbering the males by more than two to one. This association remained even after other factors were taken into account, such as obesity, smoking, insurance status and more.
“There is a striking propensity of women in their fifth to sixth decades of life to be admitted for asthma,” the authors of the study concluded.
“Until puberty, boys have higher rates of asthma than girls,” Dr. Robert Yao-wen Lin, allergist and lead study author, said in a press release. “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 study did not attempt to explain why this trend occurs, but focused on demonstrating that such an association does in fact exist. Further studies will be required to find out why so many more women than men in their fifth and sixth decades of life are admitted to hospital for their asthma, and whether or not hormones have an impact.