Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of
the airway 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 2005, women had higher rates of asthma
than men (91.9 per 1,000 women versus 51.1 per
1,000 men); this was true in every racial and
ethnic group. Among women, non-Hispanic
Black women had the highest asthma rate (108.4
per 1,000 women), followed by non-Hispanic
White women (93.8 per 1,000); Asian women
had the lowest asthma rate (55.6 per 1,000).
A visit to the emergency room due to asthma
can be an indication that the asthma is not
effectively controlled. In 2005, asthmatic women
with lower family incomes were more likely than
women with higher family incomes to have an
emergency room visit due to asthma. Among
women with family incomes below 100 percent
of the Federal poverty level (FPL), 34.2 percent of
those with asthma had visited the emergency
room in the past year, compared to 19.2 percent
of asthmatic women with family incomes of
300 percent or more of the FPL.