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Patient Care

Asthma in Women

The OSU Asthma Center provides a personalized clinical program dedicated to the care of women with asthma and focuses on the specific aspects of asthma which are unique to women. Within this framework, we provide specialized care for women with asthma during pregnancy.

Who runs the Asthma in Women program?
The program is run by Jennifer McCallister, MD and Cathy Benninger, RN, CNP, providers with a special interest in the care of women with asthma, and clinical expertise in the management of these patients. We will collaborate with your primary care physician, gynecologist, or obstetrician to develop a diagnosis and treatment plan that addresses your individual needs. asthma in women

Why do we offer a program dedicated to the care of women with asthma?
Research has shown that men and women are affected by asthma differently. Across the human life span, the risk of developing asthma varies greatly with the age and sex of a patient. It is well known that boys have more asthma then girls prior to adolescence. However, after puberty and into adulthood, women have more asthma then men. No one knows why this is true, but it appears to be due to more then just hormonal differences between men and women. In addition, women with asthma may experience asthma symptoms in a way that is very different from men. 

Consider the following:

  • Women with asthma may experience more asthma symptoms and may describe a poorer quality of life related to their asthma than men with the same level of lung function
  • Women may be more susceptible to the effects of tobacco smoke than men
  • A subset of women experience an increase in asthma symptoms related to menstruation
  • Pregnancy may directly influence a woman’s asthma control, and it is sometimes difficult to predict who will experience a worsening in asthma during pregnancy

What types of patients are cared for in the Asthma in Women program?
Any women with asthma or pulmonary symptoms are welcome in the program. In addition, we have a special interest and expertise in the care of asthma during pregnancy. We also provide preconception counseling and care for women with asthma who are planning pregnancy. 

What services does the program offer?
The initial visit (Visit 1) to the Asthma in Women program will include a comprehensive history and physical examination and scheduling of appropriate diagnostic testing based on the individual needs of the woman. This may include specialized pulmonary function testing, allergy testing, evaluation for vocal cord dysfunction, bone densitometry, or nutritional counseling.

At Visit 2, the results of any diagnostic testing will be reviewed and a treatment plan will be developed. A thorough review of options for treatment will be reviewed with each woman, with a particular emphasis on using the safest medications for women who are or who are planning to become pregnant.

FDA Pregnancy Risk Categories for Medications
Asthma Medications in Pregnancy

At Visit 3, response to treatment will be evaluated and the need for future visits will be determined.

We will communicate treatment plans to your primary care physician and/or obstetrician/gynecologist after each visit. In addition, we provide access to our multidisciplinary team of healthcare providers including asthma educators, allergists, endocrinologists, and otolaryngologists. 

Additional Information:
Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation