Asthma in Women, Asthma in Pregnancy (cont.)

In 1995, 52.6 women per 1000 population had asthma, compared to 52.6 in men (2). Females also have a greater use of emergency rooms for asthma, 82.3 vs. 57.8 per 10,000 in men vs. women in 1995 (2). These gender differences appear to be growing, not lessening.

Preliminary work suggests that woman may access outpatient care for asthma more frequently than do men, and that women in the emergency room for asthma may have a bigger chance of being admitted to the hospital compared to men. Also, of asthma patients admitted to the intensive care unit, females may have worse asthma (more severe disease) than do males. The reasons for these gender differences in asthma are not yet known. Since it has been reported that women use "rescue medications" (see treatment section below for description) more frequently than men do, the women may either have more severe asthma, may not be prescribed the daily maintenance medications as often as are men or may not be taking their controller medication.


Rarely, asthma can result in death. Asthma causes 5000 deaths per year (6). The asthma deaths occur mostly in blacks aged 15-24 years (2). It causes days of restricted activity and multiple hospitalizations each year.

Prognosis: How is Asthma Different in Pregnancy?

All women are different. The course that asthma will take when an asthmatic woman becomes pregnant is impossible to predict beforehand. Furthermore, there is research evidence suggesting that women with asthma are higher risk of having pre-term infants, low birth-weight infants, infants small for their gestational age, increased hospital stays, and other complications. There is strong medical basis to believe that the risk of using asthma medication in pregnancy is minuscule compared to the risk of NOT treating the asthma.

Prevention of Asthma and Asthma Attacks

Something Usually Triggers an Asthma Attack

An asthma attack occurs when the airways narrow (the process called bronchoconstriction) and inflamed, usually as a result of an asthma trigger. Obviously, if a woman knows certain things trigger her asthma, she should try to avoid exposure to them whenever possible. Usually, something is responsible for triggering asthma flares. The following are issues regarding asthma triggers and prevention of asthma symptoms.

In terms of asthma in children, research is growing daily that strongly suggest that if we abolished exposure of children to cigarette smoking we could actually prevent some cases of asthma. Exposure to cigarette smoke is a risk factor for asthma. Pregnant asthmatics should avoid not only smoking but also exposure to side-stream tobacco smoke.