Women and COPD Print
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Micki Sandquist   
Thursday, 06 June 2013 08:17

The American Lung Association released this report  today in its Disparities in Lung Health Series — “Taking Her Breath Away: The Rise of COPD in Women.” This report examines the burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), also known as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, among women.

COPD has long been considered a disease of white men, as they have historically smoked at higher rates than other groups. That profile is changing, and the rate of COPD among women has climbed steadily in recent years. Closer examination reveals a number of disparities in burden of disease, risk factors, and healthcare practices that must be addressed.

This report is an important tool to raise awareness of this health disparity, generate constructive discussions and build partnerships within the healthcare industry, as well as governments, community leaders and individuals to seek solutions.

key findings include:

  • Since COPD has historically been thought of as a “man’s disease,” women are underdiagnosed and undertreated for COPD.
  • Women are more vulnerable than men to lung damage from cigarette smoke and other pollutants.
  • Women are especially more vulnerable to COPD before the age of 65.
  • Women with COPD have more frequent disease flare-ups—a sudden worsening of COPD symptoms that is often caused by a cold or other lung infection.
  • Effective treatment of COPD is complicated, and women don’t always get the kind of care that meets their needs.

The quality of life for women with COPD is impaired at an earlier age, and is worse overall than that of men with similar severity of disease.

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