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Asthma in Women

The impact of female hormones on asthma.

Keeping Asthma in Check continued...

In many cases, pregnant women avoid maintenance medication out of fear the medicine may harm their unborn child. In fact, the opposite is true. “When a pregnant woman has an asthma attack, you aren’t getting oxygen, and neither is baby, which can be detrimental to the health of mother and child,” says Kao.

  • For women in menopause: Watch for symptoms that may indicate asthma, such as wheezing and coughing.

“Women who go through menopause can develop asthma for the first time in their lives, which can be surprising,” says Basset. But, it’s important to know that you can have asthma at any age, especially women whose hormones are changing so dramatically, he explains. So don’t ignore wheezing and coughing, whatever your age.

If you experience asthma symptoms, talk to your doctor about treatment, including the option of temporary hormone replacement therapy.

Asthma in women is a serious health issue, Basset says. Asthma is more common in women than men. Women also suffer more hospitalizations and deaths related to asthma. In addition, cases of asthma have increased in women vs. men over the last decade or two, especially in women ages 20 to 50.

Still, the numbers aren’t the whole story. “We need to educate women about the fact that asthma is totally treatable,” says Basset. “When you have proper monitoring and insight into the disease it is a recipe for success.”

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Reviewed on July 07, 2009

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