The role of female sex hormones in the development and severity of allergic and non-allergic asthma

Authors

  • M. Van Den Berge,

    1. Department of Pulmonology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands and
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  • H. I. Heijink,

    1. Department of Pulmonology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands and
    2. Laboratory of Allergology and Pulmonary Diseases, Department of Pathology and Medical Biology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
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  • A. J. M. Van Oosterhout,

    1. Laboratory of Allergology and Pulmonary Diseases, Department of Pathology and Medical Biology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
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  • D. S. Postma

    1. Department of Pulmonology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands and
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Correspondence:
M. van den Berge, University Medical Center Groningen, Hanzeplein 1, 9700 RB, Groningen, The Netherlands. E-mail: m.van.den.berge@int.umcg.nl

Summary

Allergic asthma is usually diagnosed by the presence of variable airway obstruction, bronchial hyperresponsiveness, and allergy. However, a significant proportion of adult asthma patients (up to 40%) are non-allergic. Patients with non-allergic asthma often have a later disease onset and greater disease severity, as reflected by more severe airway obstruction and bronchial hyperresponsiveness. Furthermore, females have a higher risk of developing non-allergic asthma. The latter suggests that hormone-related events play an important role in the development and severity of adult-onset non-allergic asthma. This paper describes the associations between asthma and hormonal changes throughout the female life-span, such as those associated with the monthly cycle of menstruation and menopausal hormonal changes.

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