COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is the third leading cause of death in the United States. With more and more women getting diagnosed with the disease, and since 2000, more women than men dying from it, it can no longer be considered a man’s disease.
Women report having more problems with breathing, shortness of breath and reduced energy than men at the same stage of the disease. Why does COPD affect women worse than men? There are a few reasons why this may occur:
- Women are more likely than men to have other medical problems that affect their COPD – osteoporosis, for example, is more likely to occur in women, and can make symptoms of COPD worse.
- A key in treating COPD to improve quality of life is catching it early, yet women are often misdiagnosed, usually with asthma instead of COPD.
- Women with COPD have more frequent flare-ups than men – which can lead to a lower quality of life.
- Women experience COPD with more airway obstruction, whereas men experience more emphysema-like COPD
- Studies have shown that women have a harder time quitting smoking – leading to more lung damage. Studies have also shown that cigarette smoke does more damage to women’s lungs.
If you have COPD and want to learn how to breathe smarter, check out our Breathing Partners program or call us today at 1-800-220-1990.