Report: COPD on the rise among women

Thursday, June 6, 2013

WASHINGTON – Women are 37% more likely to have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than men and now account for more than half of all deaths attributed to the disease in the United States, according to a report from the American Lung Association. Once considered a disease that primarily affected men, incidence of COPD in women has increased substantially in recent years, largely due to an increase in smoking by women, the report said. “What we now know is that more women than men in this country are dying from COPD—and nearly half of women currently living with COPD don’t even know they have it,” stated MeiLan Han, M.D., medical director, Women’s Respiratory Health Program at the University of Michigan Health System. The report identifies a constellation of factors responsible for the disproportionate impact of COPD on women, including exposure to tobacco and air pollution, biological susceptibility, and sociocultural factors.