Women with asthma have lower levels of testosterone: Research

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WASHINGTON: A recent study found that obese women with asthma have lower levels of testosterone in comparison to the ones who do not have asthma. In “Sex Steroid Hormones and Asthma in a Nationwide Study of U.S. Adults,” Yueh-Ying Han, PhD; Erick Forno, MD, MPH; and Juan C. Celedon, MD, DrPH; also reported that among obese women, those with asthma are more likely to have lower levels of estradiol, another sex hormone, than those who do not have asthma.

In addition, the researchers found that among non-obese men, those with asthma are more likely to have lower levels of estradiol than those who do not have asthma.

Previous studies have reported specific differences among paediatric and adult asthma patients based on sex. Although asthma is more common in boys than in girls, asthma is more common in women than in men, reported the study published in the ‘American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine’.

Given that sex hormones may explain these sex-specific differences, lead author Dr. Han, an epidemiologist at the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and senior author Dr. Celedon, the Niels K. Jerne Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and chief of pulmonary medicine at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, said they conducted this study to examine whether sex hormones are associated with asthma in adult men and women.

They also wanted to test whether any association varies between obese and non-obese individuals.

The study found that elevated levels of sex hormones reduced the likelihood of asthma. Specifically, in women, levels of free testosterone in the highest quartile compared to the lowest quartile were associated with 44 per cent lower odds of asthma.

Among obese women, levels of free testosterone in the highest quartile compared to the lowest quartile were associated with 41 per cent lower odds of asthma.

Among obese women, levels of estradiol in the highest quartile compared to the lowest quartile were associated with 57 per cent lower odds of asthma. Levels of estradiol in the second and third quartiles compared to the lowest quartile were also associated with reduced odds of asthma in these women.

And among non-obese men, levels of estradiol in the highest quartile compared to the lowest quartile were associated with 56 per cent lower odds of asthma.