Predicting Asthma in Middle-Aged Women

Low levels of adiponectin can predict asthma development in middle aged women

(RxWiki News) In a new study, low-levels of fat protein may predict future risk of developing asthma in middle-aged women. This predictive power was especially true for women who smoked.

Middle-aged women with low levels of adiponectin, a protein produced by fat tissue, were at a higher risk of developing asthma than women with average or high levels of the protein.

Regardless of weight or Body Mass Index (BMI), middle-aged women who fell into the lowest third for adiponectin were at a higher risk of developing asthma, especially smokers. Raising adiponectin levels could be used as a preventative treatment for middle-aged female smokers.

"Ask your doctor about risk factors for developing asthma."

This study was led by Akshay Sood, M.D., M.P.H., from the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center School of Medicine. Researchers compiled data on 1,450 women who were part of the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study.

According to Dr. Sood, a prior study showed that low levels of adiponectin in the blood were common among individuals with asthma. This new study helps define the relationship between the two. For smokers, low levels of adiponectin were especially effective in predicting asthma during a five year period.

The CARDIA study involved 5,115 men and women, whose age ranged between 18 and 30, to better understand cardiovascular disease development and risk factors. The study lasted for 25 years and was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. This new study gathered data from 1,450 women, 1,100 who were pre-menopausal, who had their adiponectin levels measured.

Women who had low levels of adiponectin, the lowest third, in the 15th year of the CARDIA study were more likely to have asthma in the 20th year of the study. Current smokers who had lower levels of adiponectin were at a greater risk of developing asthma than non-smokers. Obesity or BMI were not factors in this predictive ability. Adiponectin levels during the 10th year of the CARDIA study did not predict asthma development during the 15th year of the study.

Some limitations of this study involve using CARDIA  participants who chose to have their adiponectin levels measured, which could have skewed the results. Additionally, asthma diagnosis was self-reported. Future studies can include a new population of patients and monitoring of asthma development. 

No funding information was provided.

This study will be published in a future edition American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Review Date: 
March 27, 2012