Background: Men and women respond differently to asthma.
Patients and methods: Maximal inspiratory mouth pressure (Pimax), β2-agonist consumption, and perception of dyspnea (POD) were measured in 22 women and 22 men with mild persistent-to-moderate asthma. Next, the women were randomized into two groups: those who received inspiratory muscle training and those who received sham training. The training ended when the Pimax of the training group was equal to that of the male subjects. POD was then measured once again.
Results: Baseline Pimax was significantly lower (p < 0.01) while POD and mean daily β2-agonist consumption were significantly higher in the female subjects. Pimax reached the level of the male subjects at the end of the 20th week of training. The increase in the Pimax was associated with a statistically significant decrease in mean daily β2-agonist use and in POD to a similar level as in male subjects.
Conclusions: POD and mean daily β2-agonist consumption in asthmatic women are significantly higher, and the Pimax significantly lower, than that of their male counterparts. When the Pimax of female subjects following training is equal to that in male subjects, the differences in POD and mean daily β2-agonist consumption disappear.