woman asthma

Wheezing, breathlessness, and chest pain are some symptoms of asthma, which get worse if the condition is not diagnosed

New Delhi: Asthma, also known as bronchial asthma, affects your lungs badly. Being a chronic condition, asthma does not go away and needs ongoing medical management. However, according to studies, women are twice as likely as men to have asthma, and this gender difference may be caused by the effects of sex hormones on lung cells.
Wheezing, breathlessness, and chest pain are some symptoms of asthma, which get worse if the condition is not diagnosed or treated well in time.

How does asthma affect women?

Asthma affects women in a very different manner as there are several triggers for the disease. According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, puberty plays a significant role in the prevalence and severity among women and is highest in women with early menarche.

Even though there are various causes of asthma, in women, hormonal changes are the major cause of this respiratory disorder. Apart from that, many other factors, including exposure to allergens and viral infections, are there.

Many studies conducted on the topic have also found that, before puberty, boys have a 1.5 times higher rate of asthma than girls. However, the trend reverses after puberty, when women are twice likely to have asthma as men. This pattern continues until women hit menopause, and then the asthma rates in women start to decline

Signs and symptoms

Some early warning signs of an asthma attack include:

  • Frequent coughing, especially at night
  • Breathlessness or shortness of breath
  • Feeling very tired, or fatigued when exercising
  • Wheezing
  • Feeling tired, easily upset, grouchy, or moody
  • Signs of a cold or allergies
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Sputum in cough

For many people, asthma signs and symptoms flare up in certain situations like:

  • Exercise-induced asthma may be worse when the air is cold and dry
  • Occupational asthma is triggered by workplace irritants such as chemical fumes, gases, or dust
  • Allergy-induced asthma is triggered by airborne substances, such as pollen, mold spores, cockroach waste, or particles of skin and dried saliva shed by pets

Risk factors

According to the American Lung Association, the risk factors include:

Family history

If any close relative in your family, like parents or grandparents, has had asthma, you are 3-6 times more likely to develop asthma.


Some people are more likely to develop allergies than others, especially if one of their parents has allergies. Certain allergic conditions, such as atopic dermatitis, or allergic rhinitis, are linked to people who get asthma.

Viral respiratory infections

If you had respiratory issues during childhood, it can cause wheezing. Some children who experience viral respiratory infections go on to develop chronic asthma.

Occupational exposures

Certain exposures to certain elements in your workplace like industrial or wood dust can cause asthma symptoms.


If you are a chronic smoker you have a very high risk of asthma. Those whose mothers smoked during pregnancy or who were exposed to secondhand smoke are also more likely to have the ailment.

Air Pollution

Exposure to the main component of smog raises the risk of asthma. Those who grew up or live in urban areas have a higher risk for asthma.

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.

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