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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Asthma Concern
January 2003

Q. Is it true that asthmatics have a higher chance of being sterile?

A. Asthma is a common disease worldwide and accounts for a great deal of medical illness and treatment. It is estimated that 17 million persons in the U.S, have asthma. The condition causes a narrowing of the air passage into the lungs due to spasm and inflammation, usually precipitated by exposure to allergens (pollen, dust, animals) or irritants such as smoke, cold air, and even exercise. Medical treatment is aimed at correcting this process and avoiding known factors that cause symptoms to flare.

There is no association with asthma and sterility, with one exception. If steroids are used for treatment in high doses for a prolonged time, this can disrupt the signal from the brain which starts testosterone production in men. This would lead to lowering of the sperm count and possible fertility problems in that situation. But the mere presence of asthma would not cause such a concern.



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