Occupational exposure influences on gender differences in respiratory health.

TitleOccupational exposure influences on gender differences in respiratory health.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsDimich-Ward, H, Beking, K, DyBuncio, A, Chan-Yeung, M, Du, W, Karlen, B, Camp, PG, Kennedy, SM
Date Published2012 Apr
KeywordsAdult, Agriculture, Asthma, Confidence Intervals, Construction Industry, Dust, Dyspnea, Female, Food Industry, Forced Expiratory Volume, Health Care Sector, Humans, Male, Metallurgy, Middle Aged, Occupational Diseases, Occupational Exposure, Odds Ratio, Prevalence, Sex Factors, Transportation, Vital Capacity

BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to evaluate gender differences in the respiratory health of workers exposed to organic and inorganic dusts.METHODS: Meta-analysis techniques incorporating logistic regression were applied to a combined file of 12 occupational health studies.RESULTS: Meta-analysis of data on 1,367 women and 4,240 men showed that women had higher odds of shortness of breath whether exposed to inorganic dust or having no occupational exposure, with an overall odds ratio (OR) of 2.07 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.57-2.73) adjusted for smoking status, age, body mass index (BMI), ethnic status, atopy, and job duration. Inorganic dust exposure was associated with the highest odds of asthma (adjusted OR = 8.38, 95% CI = 1.72-40.89) for women compared to men, but no differences were found for unexposed workers. With organic dust exposure, men had elevated odds for occasional wheeze and worse lung function compared to women.CONCLUSION: Within the limitations of this analysis, gender differences in respiratory health, as suggested by population-based studies, were confirmed in our analysis of occupational health studies, with the general type of exposure, organic or inorganic, generally determining the extent of differences. The higher risks for women compared to men for shortness of breath were robust regardless of work exposure category, with the highest odds ratios found for asthma.

Alternate JournalLung
PubMed ID22083421
Grant List / / Canadian Institutes of Health Research / Canada