Skip to main content

28-09-2009 | Respiratory | Article

No gender difference in asthma severity


Free abstract

MedWire News: Results of a European study suggest there are no significant differences in the distribution of asthma severity between men and women.

Writing in the journal PLoS ONE, Chantal Raherison (CHU Bordeaux, France) and team explain: “To our knowledge, no longitudinal population-based study has investigated gender difference in asthma severity.”

To address this, the team studied data on 685 patients with asthma, aged between 22 and 44 years, who participated in the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS) and who were followed up for a mean of 8.6 years.

The participants were surveyed twice, in 1991–1993 and 1998–2002, about asthma and asthma-like symptoms, and also underwent skin prick and blood tests, spirometry, and airway challenge.

At both surveys, asthma severity was assessed using the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) Guidelines and the Ronchetti quantitative score. The Ronchetti score differs from the GINA criteria in assessing asthma severity in that it also considers hospitalizations, in addition to respiratory symptoms, lung function, and medication use.

At the first survey, asthma severity according to the GINA criteria was intermittent in 40.7% of patients, mild persistent in 31.7%, moderate persistent in 14%, and severe persistent in 13.5%. Using the Ronchetti score, asthma severity was mild (intermittent and mild persistent) in 58% of patients, moderate in 25.8%, and severe in 15.4%.

There were no significant gender differences in the distribution of asthma severity. Nor were there any significant gender differences in disease severity between men and women who developed asthma during follow-up.

However, men with moderate-to-severe asthma at the first survey were more likely than women to have moderate-to-severe asthma at the second survey.

Raherison and team conclude: “Whatever the classification, there was no difference in the overall distribution of asthma severity between men and women.

“However, investigating change in severity over time suggested that asthma severity might be more stable in men than in women.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a part of Springer Science+Business Media. © Current Medicine Group Ltd; 2009

By Mark Cowen

Related topics