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Study: Women at Higher Risk for Allergies, Asthma

Reasons for gender difference are unclear

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Nov. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Women are more likely than men to have asthma, allergies and autoimmune diseases, a new study says.

Before puberty, boys are more likely than girls to have these health issues. But that changes when they become young adults, allergist Dr. Renata Engler said in a Friday presentation at an annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in Baltimore.

The reasons for these gender differences are complex and vary with age. But what is clear is the need for improved understanding of how gender affects diagnosis, treatment and outcomes, he said.

"The importance of sex differences in the practice of allergy-immunology cannot be overstated," Engler said in an ACAAI news release. "Improved sex/gender-based medicine and research practices will benefit men and women alike."

Genetics also play an important role in allergy and asthma risk. If parents have either of these conditions, their children are at increased risk, according to the ACAAI.

This study was presented at a medical meeting, so it should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

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