Improving COPD management in women

With more women dying from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than breast and lung cancer combined, a new report co-authored by Professor Christine Jenkins from The George Institute for Global Health highlights the need for a new global approach to tackling the disease.

Professor Christine Jenkins' paper Improving the Management of COPD in Women has just been published in CHEST and reveals the increasing evidence in sex related differences in the risk of COPD. It provides recommendations for improving the outcomes of millions of women suffering from COPD worldwide.

The evidence suggests that:

  1. Women are being misdiagnosed more than men.
  2. Whilst they smoke less than men, they are at risk of greater harm of COPD by smoking.
  3. Women with COPD are generally younger than their male counterparts.
  4. Rates of COPD are rising due to more women now working in once traditional male occupations, such as unregulated cottage industries including textiles.
  5. Women suffering from COPD are more likely to be from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
  6. More women than men are exposed to biomass fuels – such as from cooking – which raises their risk of contracting COPD.

The report says there is an urgent need to improve the awareness of the heightened risk of COPD in women and improve the management of the disease through sex specific research and better consideration of sex-relevant factors, such as common comorbidities.

Read the full paper in CHEST journal. This paper was also highlighted recently in Australian Doctor.