In honor of National Women’s Health Week, we want to celebrate all of the women in our lives, and encourage them to assess their health.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says, “We know that women are often the ones who make sure everyone – everyone else, that is – in our families are cared for. But too often, we put our own health last.
But the reality is unless you take care of yourself, you cannot really take care of your family. That means eating right, exercising, quitting smoking, and getting the care necessary to stay healthy.”
COPD is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. More than 24 million Americans are living with the disease, and over half of these people don’t even know they have it. That’s because as people grow older, they mistake symptoms of COPD for regular signs of aging.
What are the symptoms? Increased breathlessness, frequent coughing (with and without sputum), wheezing, and tightness in your chest.
For women, COPD has begun to be an increasing problem.
- 6.7 percent of adult women have COPD, compared to 5.2 percent of men
- COPD kills more women every year than breast cancer and diabetes combined
- Women who smoke are 13 times as likely to die from COPD
- In 2011, there were over 492,000 hospitalizations for women with COPD
These are all reasons why it is important that you talk to your doctor as soon as you notice any of these symptoms. If you think you may be at risk, you can take our 5-question Risk Screener.