Why is Asthma more prevalent in boys?
According to a September, 2012 report by the American Lung Association (ALA), 7.1 million children had asthma in 2011, with the prevalence being between the ages of 5-11. The report additionally showed that boys were 16% more likely to develop asthma than girls. Why is that and what does it mean for parents and practitioners, alike?
Why asthma is harder on boys than girls remains a bit of a mystery, although one theory suggests that boys’ lungs are less fully developed and their air passages are smaller than that of a girl. Another theory is that boys tend to be more into sports, or more likely to play in areas that are dirtier which in turn increases their exposure to mold, dust, and other asthma triggers.
Parents need to create living environments that are conducive to helping support the respiratory health of their child, boy or girl. Keeping track of daily symptoms of the child’s asthma, peak flow values, and medicine intake are key components to respiratory health.
Keeping track of this information will help you and your pediatrician to better monitor the asthmatic child. Having asthma under control is no easy feat. But it will be easier if as a parent you are engaged with the day-to-day activities, symptoms, and triggers and be in good communication with the doctor caring for the child.
When examined at specific time points, asthma is more common and more severe in prepubertal boys, with boys less than 18 years of age having a 54% higher rate of asthma than girls of the same age. However, the prevalence of asthma and its severity increases significantly in women after puberty,
At the heart of respiratory health is good communication, spirometry testing, and eliminating as many triggers to the child as possible. Talk to your patients and your doctor about next steps in asthma care and have spirometry become an integral part of the care.