And the Winner in the Battle of the Healthier Sex is …
Allergy and asthma risk is in the genes and how the environment interacts with them
BALTIMORE, MD. (November 8, 2013) – Are men healthier than women when it comes to allergies and asthma? Is one sex genetically at higher risk for chronic allergic illness? There are many differences between men and women. And when it comes down to health, one gender seems to be more prone to allergies and asthma.
According to a presentation being given at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), adult females are at higher risk for allergies, asthma and autoimmune diseases.
“More prepubescent males have rhinitis, asthma and food allergy than females,” said presenter Renata Engler, MD, allergist and ACAAI Fellow. “However, roles change. When females enter young adulthood, they outnumber men in these chronic illness categories.”
Why are women at higher risk for allergy and asthma post puberty? The reasons for gender-differences in disease risk and immune responses are complex and vary with age. IgG immune responses to vaccines are enhanced in women compared to men but IgE levels are actually higher in asthmatic men than in women. The important message is that in order to improve personalized care of patients, improving understanding and impact of gender diversity on diagnosis, treatment and outcomes is needed. One size fits all is not the best approach.
“The importance of sex differences in the practice of allergy-immunology cannot be overstated,” said Dr. Engler. “Improved sex/gender based medicine and research practices will benefit men and women alike.”
Genetics, aside from sex hormones, play a role in determining who will develop allergy and asthma. According to ACAAI, if parents have either of these chronic illnesses, their children are at an increased risk.
In her presentation, Dr. Engler stated personalized medicine is more than just in the genes. Because allergy and asthma manifest in each person differently, it is important sufferers see an allergist. Proper treatment involves more than just relieving symptoms, but finding the source of the suffering and developing individualized care plans to avoid symptom triggers.
The ACAAI Annual Meeting is being held Nov. 7-11 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore. For more news and research being presented at the meeting, follow the conversation on Twitter #ACAAI.
The ACAAI is a professional medical organization of more than 5,700 allergists-immunologists and allied health professionals, headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill. The College fosters a culture of collaboration and congeniality in which its members work together and with others toward the common goals of patient care, education, advocacy and research. ACAAI allergists are board-certified physicians trained to diagnose allergies and asthma, administer immunotherapy, and provide patients with the best treatment outcomes. For more information and to find relief, visit AllergyandAsthmaRelief.org. Join us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.