Asthma and Women

From the ages of 20 to 50, women outnumber men three to one in asthma-related hospital admissions. Interestingly, in childhood, boys outnumber girls for asthma hospital admissions. There is evidence that asthma may be related to women's hormonal changes and may be triggered just before or during the menstrual period.

Most women who have asthma are able to have safe and normal pregnancies as long as their asthma is effectively under control. It is extremely important for women to control their asthma while pregnant because asthma causes a decrease in the oxygen in the blood and can affect the amount of oxygen the fetus receives.

The severity of asthma may change for women during pregnancy. In general, symptoms in pregnant women with asthma seem to improve in one-third of cases, stay the same in one-third, and worsen in one-third of cases.

Reprinted with permission from the National Women's Health Information Center, a project of the Office on Women's Health in the Department of Health and Human Services.

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