STATUS > HEALTH INDICATORS
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways
characterized by episodes of wheezing, chest tightness, shortness
of breath, and coughing. This disorder may be aggravated by allergens,
tobacco smoke and other irritants, exercise, and infections of the
respiratory tract. However, by taking certain precautions, persons
with asthma may be able to effectively manage this disorder and
participate in daily activities.
In 2003, women had higher rates of asthma than men (81.1 compared
to 45.7 per 1,000 population). This disparity was most pronounced
among those between the ages of 45 and 64 years, where women experienced
asthma at more than twice the rate of men. The difference in asthma
rates among men and women was the smallest among those 18-44 years
of age, although women in this group still experienced asthma at
more than 1.5 times the rate of men.
Among women, rates of asthma differed among racial and ethnic groups.
Non-Hispanic Black and non-Hispanic White women had the highest
rates of asthma (86 per 1,000 females), followed by Hispanic women
(60.8 per 1,000 women); Asian women had the lowest rates (22.8 per