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Women Now More Likely to Die of COPD than Men

Posted on May 07, 2012

According to a recent Everyday Health online news report, more women are getting COPD, and dying from it. 

Citing the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the report says that the year 2000 marked a turning point at which more women died from this disease than men. And the numbers continue to rise. By 2008, over two million women were diagnosed with COPD, compared to about 1.8 million men. 

This statistical rise in women with COPD is explained for several reasons:

  • More women than ever before started smoking in the 70’s and 80’s. And because the top cause for this disease is smoking, their habits are now catching up to them.
  • There is evidence that women are likely to develop COPD before men do.
  • More women than men suffer from asthma, which is a secondary risk factor.

There are some other findings as well which include:

  • Women have about the same symptoms and severity as men with COPD.
  • Women report more problems with depression and breathlessness than men.
  • Early-onset COPD is more common among women than men.

For women who have not yet been diagnosed with COPD, Dr. David Mannino, director of the Pulmonary Epidemiology Research Laboratory at the University of Kentucky, suggests the following:

  • Quit smoking. Some studies have found that women who smoke have a 13% better chance of developing COPD than those who do not.
  • Avoid secondhand smoke. Try to convince friends and especially family in your house to quit too, or at least keep the smoke away from you.
  • Avoid irritating your lungs. Right in your own home, paints, extermination products, strong cleaners and cooking fumes can cause problems.
  • Keep asthma under control. Also, have a flu shot annually and see a doctor regularly for screenings.



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John L. Keefe
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