COPD: Not Just a Man’s Disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has historically been associated with older men who are smokers. But in recent years, it has also been associated with increased mortality among women. This retrospective cohort study analyzed how COPD expresses itself differently in men versus women newly diagnosed with the disease. The researchers used electronic health records from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink and Hospital Episode Statistics data to compare men and women newly diagnosed with COPD at a primary care clinic in the United Kingdom between Jan. 1, 2010, and Feb. 28, 2015. The study period spanned Jan. 1, 2006, through Feb. 28, 2016. Final analysis included 22,429 incident patients, of whom 48% were women. Compared to men, first moderate or severe exacerbation risk was 17% higher in women (hazard ratio, 1.17; 95% confidence interval, 1.12-1.23). Women had a faster median time to first exacerbation than men (504 days vs. 637 days). Sex-related differences were more pronounced in those aged 40-65 years; those classified as Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease 2016 groups B, C, and D; and patients with moderate to severe airflow obstruction. During the first, second, and third years of follow-up, the annual moderate or severe exacerbation rate was higher in women. Read more