According to research, there is a gender disparity regarding the prevalence of asthma. The mechanism for this is unclear. The prevalence of asthma and its severity in the cases based on gender have been reported worldwide, with the condition becoming about 40 per cent more prevalent and severe in women than men. Not just that, women older than 15 years are 2.3 times more likely than males to be admitted to the hospital for asthma.
In collaboration with The Channel 46 on World Asthma Day (3rd May), Dr Preyas Vaidya, Consultant-Pulmonologist & Sleep Medicine Expert, Hiranandani Hospital, sheds light on factors that can cause asthma and offers advice on tips to keep the medical condition under control.
5 Factors That May Cause Asthma
Besides hormones in women and testosterone in men that can affect the chances of getting asthma, other factors that may play a role include:
1. Size Of Lungs
Since female lungs are often smaller and their airways narrower than in males of similar age and size, the probability of asthma is higher in women.
2. Exposure To Allergens
Women tend to be more exposed to dust mites, mould or pets at home as they tend to spend more time at home than men and mostly spend more time cleaning.
Read Paediatrician Dr Lini Balakrishnan Explains About Child Asthmatic Care
With the onset of menopause, some women experience increased allergies and allergic asthma. On the other hand, some might even become allergic to something that did not concern them before.
4. Weight Gain
As older women are more at risk of obesity than men, this can affect the chances of them contracting asthma.
Many women are the primary caregivers in their families, and this role might cause them to ignore their own symptoms/health until it is too late.
Besides age and gender, asthma is a complex disease that affects each person differently and requires life-long management as it is an incurable condition but controllable. That is why generalisations are not an essential aspect of diagnosis, and any person who shows symptoms related to the disease must seek medical attention immediately.
Read 10 Diagnostic Tests Women Should Get Done Before 35
7 Tips To Keep Asthma Under Control
Here are some tips to help a person with asthma manage their condition better.
1. Identify Your Asthmatic Triggers & Avoid Them
Different asthma patients have different triggers, and they can worsen the asthma symptoms by irritating your airways. If you know your trigger, which can be smoke, dust or even pets, it is best to avoid them.
2. Continue Your Medications Unless Advised Otherwise By A Doctor
Many people think that asthma is a childhood disease that you can outgrow and stop medications once the symptoms are reduced. This is not true, as asthma can return with double severity if medications/inhalers are discontinued. If a patient feels that they have recovered, they need to consult a specialist before reducing or stopping their medication.
3. Stop Smoking Immediately, If You Do
If you smoke and have asthma, then you should stop immediately. Even second-hand smoke can significantly increase the severity and frequency of your symptoms.
4. Follow A Regular Fitness Routine
Exercise is good for asthma patients as it helps strengthen the breathing muscles, boost the immune system, and help keep healthy body weight.
5. Stay Updated On All Required Vaccines
Viruses like the cold and flu can affect your airways and lungs to a great extent. So, make sure to stay updated on all required vaccines to reduce your chances of contracting diseases like asthma.
6. Get Your Lung Functions Checked Annually
You should get their lung functions checked yearly and make sure they are normal. If they are not, you should work with your healthcare provider to keep their lung functions normal.
7. Work With Your Doctor To Manage The Symptoms
Learn to monitor and manage your asthma from your healthcare provider. Get clarification about myths around inhalers and other medications for asthma control.
- Asthma is 40 per cent more prevalent and severe in women than men.
- Women older than 15 years are 2.3 times more likely than males to be admitted to the hospital for asthma.
- It is an incurable but controllable condition that requires life-long management
- There are various factors that may make women more susceptible to asthma as compared to men. These factors include the comparatively smaller size of lungs than men, greater chances of exposure to allergens, menopause, weight gain due to age, and being primary caregivers in several households.
- There are lifestyle habits that must be strictly followed to keep asthma under control.
- Besides, getting your liver function checked once a year and working with your healthcare practitioner is important to control asthmatic symptoms.
- Don’t reduce your medications or stop taking them altogether because you feel you are doing better unless your doctor advises you to do so.
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