January 19, 2009

Men With COPD More At Risk Than Women

Men with COPD are more likely to die or be hospitalized than women with COPD, according to the results of a study conducted in the Asia-Pacific region.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a progressive disease that makes it hard to breath.  COPD causes coughing that produces great amounts of mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, along with other symptoms.

The leading cause of COPD is cigarette smoking, but it is also associated with long-term exposure to other lung irritants, like air pollution and chemical fumes.

"The global rise of COPD is particularly dramatic in Asia-Pacific where two recognized risk factors for COPD, tobacco smoke and indoor air pollution, are highly prevalent and are significant contributors to death and disease burden," Dr. Wan C. Tan, from St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, Canada, said in a statement.

Tan and colleagues analyzed data obtained from national health statistics agencies for 1991 through 2004, to better understand the epidemiology of COPD in this region.

In 2003, they found that COPD death rates for men per 10,000 people ranged from 6.4 to 9.2.  However, with women, the rates were just 2.1 to 3.5 per 10,000 people.

COPD-related illness was also higher in men, with rates of 32.6 to 334.7 per 10,000 people, compared with rates of 21.2 to 129 per 10,000 for women.

"The growing burden of COPD in the Asia-Pacific region," Tan concluded, "supports the need for more intensive research and analysis to raise awareness of the disease and its causes. It is also important to reinforce the importance of persistent comprehensive anti-smoking strategies in individuals."


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