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Study highlights danger of COPD in women 

Study highlights danger of COPD in women 

SAN DIEGO – COPD prevalence among those 25 years and older is expected to increase by 23% from 2020 to 2050, with the largest growth projected among women and within low- and middle-income countries, according to a new study from ResMed published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Network Open. 

Other results from the study: 

  • By 2050, the number of women with COPD is projected to increase by 47% compared to only 9% growth in men  

  • Low- and middle-income countries forecast more than a 32% increase in COPD cases, versus nearly a 4% increase in high-income countries from 2020 to 2050  

  • Increasing prevalence of COPD in women and low- and middle-income countries is driven by such factors as increases in smoking prevalence and biomass smoke during cooking in poorly ventilated homes  

"These numbers are a clear warning that we need to inspire immediate action across industries and geographies to lower the risk factors for COPD, while also increasing awareness of the symptoms of this deadly disease,” says Carlos Nunez, M.D., chief medical officer at ResMed. “The disproportionate growth of COPD among women is a critical finding as COPD has not always been as prevalent in women. As a health care community, we have a responsibility to be more vigilant in screening, testing and proactively providing COPD education to female patients, as well as communities that may not have easy access to this information. Education accompanied by action can have a positive impact by mobilizing people to get diagnosed and treated early.”  

The study projects the increased regional and global burden of COPD by 2050 through an analysis of historical prevalence and data on risk factors, such as tobacco smoking, outdoor air pollution and household air pollution.  

ResMed provides non-invasive ventilation (NIV) and other mechanical ventilation solutions tailored to the needs of COPD patients, whether in a hospital or home setting. The company says these interventions can enhance the patient's quality of life and reduce the frequency of hospital visits and the risk of death.  

To read the full study, see the publication in JAMA Network Open.  


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