According to researchers in the U.S. boys are more likely than girls to grow out of childhood asthma when they reach their teenage years.
The research on more than 1,000 children over an average of nine years, found that although boys were more likely to wheeze than girls, the symptoms were also more likely to disappear when boys reached adolescence.
Of the group 60% were boys, who, compared to girls, were diagnosed at a significantly younger age.
The researchers from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, John Hopkins University, and the Washington University School of Medicine, say numerous potential confounding factors such as asthma severity, other allergies, family history and socio-environmental variables such as household smoking and pets were taken into account and the physical sexual maturity in both boys and girls were considered.
Dr. Kelan G. Tantisira and colleagues say they found that girls' airways were more likely to have a pronounced asthmatic response when exposed to provocative stimuli but both sexes were susceptible to a number of other factors that influenced airway responsiveness, such as a history of hay fever and allergies, and it could not be put down to one factor alone.
The study is expected to encourage further research into the processes involved in the development of asthma and the possible reasons why gender difference may influence its prognosis.
The researchers concluded that asthma is more severe in postpubertal females than postpubertal males males with asthma and suggest that hormonal mechanisms may play a part.
Experts agree and say sex hormones might play a role in the symptoms of asthma and its severity and that the research points to an unknown mechanism behind the development of asthma.
The study was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the General Clinical Research Center, and the National Center for Research Resources. The study was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal: American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.