Gender-specific presentations for asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema in primary care

Prim Care Respir J. 2007 Feb;16(1):28-35. doi: 10.3132/pcrj.2007.00006.


Aim: To identify age- and gender-specific prevalence rates for physician-diagnosed asthma, allergic rhinitis (AR) and eczema across a whole lifespan.

Method: Presentations of asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema were identified in individuals aged 0 to 65 who consulted their general practitioner at least once in 1998-99 from a population sample of 266,733 in Scotland, and in 1991-95 for asthma and allergic rhinitis in 6,836,063 person years at risk in England and Wales.

Results: In both sexes asthma presentations peak at 4-6 years whilst eczema peaks in infancy. A second asthma peak occurs during adolescence, earlier in females, at a time when a female predominance for all three atopic diseases is established. Female predominance of eczema presentations are limited to the reproductive period of 15-49 years.

Conclusion: The patterns of presentations for asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema by age and gender suggest important gender-specific differences in disease predisposition and diagnosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Eczema / diagnosis
  • Eczema / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / diagnosis
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / epidemiology*
  • Scotland / epidemiology
  • Sex Factors