COPD and gender differences: an update


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Abstract

Chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) is one of the most prevalent health conditions, and a major cause of morbidity and mortality around the globe. Once thought of primarily as a disease of men, COPD is now known to be increasingly prevalent among women. Although increasing tobacco consumption among women during the past several decades might explain some of this increase, the relationship may be more complex, including factors such as differential susceptibility to tobacco, anatomic and hormonal differences, behavioral differences, and differences in response to available therapeutic modalities. Moreover, women with COPD may present differently, may have a different pattern of comorbidities, and may have a better survival after acute exacerbations. Care providers continue to have a gender bias that may affect both diagnosis and treatment. Future work should focus on factors that lead to gender differences in COPD as well as gender-specific treatment strategies.

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