Is COPD an equal-opportunity disease?
The CDC states that women’s rates are rising much faster than men’s.
“These increases probably reflect the increase in smoking by women, relative to men, since the 1940s. In the United States, a history of currently or formerly smoking is the risk factor most often linked to COPD, and the increase in the number of women smoking over the past half-century is mirrored in the increase in COPD rates among women. The decreases in rates of mild and moderate COPD in both men and women aged 25-54 in the past quarter century reflect the decrease in overall smoking rates in the United States since the 1960s.”
Dr. David Mannino says women who have COPD have some specific areas that requires additional attention from their providers.
“For example, women are at an increased risk for osteoporosis, and patients with COPD are also at an increased risk. Thus, women with COPD are at a very high risk and should be evaluated and receive intervention as appropriate.”
Mannino also says that COPD affects individuals of all races and ages, but more women than men.
According to the World Health Organization, COPD used to be more common in men.
“But because of increased tobacco use among women in high-income countries, and the higher risk of exposure to indoor air pollution (such as solid fuel used for cooking and heating) in low-income countries, the disease now affects men and women almost equally.”
Regardless of what gender COPD affects more, we know that COPD is preventable, treatable, and will hopefully someday be curable.
To read more of Mannino’s thoughts, and to read more about women’s health and COPD, sign up to receive our summer issue of the COPD Digest.