Domestic abuse exposure linked to increased levels of asthma in women

Women who had atopic diseases including asthma and had a history of being exposed to domestic abuse and violence. Representative image: Pixel-Shot /

London: Published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, research found that in the analysis of patient records, there was a significantly larger percentage of women who had atopic diseases and had a history of being exposed to domestic abuse and violence compared to those who hadn't.

Women, who have suffered domestic abuse, may have a higher risk of developing atopic diseases, including asthma, according to research led by one scientist of Indian origin.

"Our results show women with a recorded exposure to domestic violence and abuse had a 52 per cent increased risk of developing atopic diseases," said Dr Joht Singh Chandan from the University of Birmingham, UK.

"Domestic violence and abuse is a global issue that disproportionately affects women. We set out to deepen our understanding of the health impacts of domestic violence so evidence-based public health policies can be further developed to address not only domestic violence, but secondary effects like the development of atopic diseases," he added.

The team of researchers performed a retrospective study in the UK, looking at adult women (those aged 18 and older) with a physician-recorded exposure to domestic violence and comparing them to women over 18 without a recorded exposure. Patients with pre-existing reports of atopic disease were excluded from the study.

A total of 13,852 women were identified as being exposed to domestic violence and were matched to 49,036 similar women without a reported exposure.

In total, 967/13,852 women in the exposed group were diagnosed with atopic disease compared to 2,607/49,036 in the unexposed group.

The researchers also acknowledged limitations to the study such as women in the exposed group were more likely to be current smokers than women in the unexposed group.

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