Study Identifies Age-Associated Gender Differences in COPD Disease Burden

A new study indicates that there are age-associated gender differences seen in the disease burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), with younger women more severely affected.

Recent research indicates that there are age-associated gender differences seen in the disease burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder

(COPD), with younger women more severely affected.

A study involving 4484 individuals with COPD demonstrated that younger women were more likely than younger men to exhibit severe dyspnea, more severe airflow limitation, were at greater risk for exacerbations, and had more severe disease classification according to the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) guidelines.

These gender associations were less pronounced among adults 65 years or older, particularly in regards to dyspnea, airflow limitations, and GOLD classification. However, older women with COPD were still more likely to experience dyspnea and present with more severe COPD than older men.

The results suggest that women are more significantly burdened by the symptoms of COPD than men and that younger women may be particularly susceptible. COPD, the third-leading cause of death in the United States, has traditionally been viewed as a male disease. But prevalence and mortality are on the rise in women. This has been attributed to increasing rates of smoking among women, although it is also possible that women are more susceptible to the harmful effects of cigarette smoke and other known COPD risk factors.

Participants were drawn from the long-running Genetic Epidemiology of COPD study (COPDGene), which seeks to find new information about genetic factors in COPD. The COPDGene study, involving 21 academic clinical centers, is an observational cohort of current and former smokers aged between 45 and 80 years at enrollment, who reported at least 10 pack-years of cigarette smoking and self-identified as either non-Hispanic white or African-American.

Continue reading on The American Journal of Managed Care.