Home Lifestyle Lung disease COPD distress US women more than men

Lung disease COPD distress US women more than men

Smoking is one of the habits which is not only common in men but also in women now a days. It’s more of a modernism, sophistication and style in few societies. None was of idea that it would make them more than equal to men in suffering such a bad disease which are choking and life shortening lung disease.

Everybody smokes and it’s cool to do puffing and it’s liberal. Smoking has lead to a serious disease which is called as COPD known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Though it was considered a man’s disease but now it has affected more women than men in United States. According to American Lung Association, nearly 8 percent of women in US have reported a COPD diagnosis From 14.7 million people in the US women account for 58% living with the disease. And there are 53% who died from it.

Researchers have found that this is just because of women’s gradual adoption of smoking to become modernize. Men started smoking in large numbers in the late 1800s when tobacco companies started its bulk production. Later in 1920’s and 1930’s these companies tried to hit the other part of the society. Yes the females! And targeted women with ads that appealed to their sense of independence and yearning for social and sexual desirability.

Dr Meilan Han associate professor of Medicine at the University of Michigan says that it’s a massive public problem form women that doesn’t get enough attention. It’s actually one of the top killers of women in the US. As COPD was tend to be associated with men, but now women are habitually diagnosed with this lung disease as it has advanced deeply.

The best thing to avoid disease is to stop smoking and its symptoms include a chronic cough, wheezing, contraction of the chest and shortness of breath. There is no cure for COPD, but its evolution can be slowed by adopting precautionary measures.

Brands such as Virginia Slims capitalized on the women’s liberation movement with catchy slogans, including “You’ve come a long way, baby.” This has influenced young girls a lot. This wave of ad campaigns in the late 1960s and early 1970s induced large numbers of women, and teenage girls, to start smoking cigarettes.

Gender differences also contributed to the increased danger of COPD for women. Research shows women may be more susceptible to the toxic effects of cigarette smoke than are men. The exact reason is not certain, but researchers believe one factor is that women’s lungs are generally smaller. Estrogen can also worsen the lung damage caused by smoking.

COPD is an umbrella term used to describe progressive lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and other conditions that make it difficult for people to push air out of their lungs. Beyond smoking, factors such as pollution and genetics can contribute to developing the lung disease.

Women are more likely than men to have flare-ups, or exacerbations, which can be caused by infections or exposure to pollutants. Frequent exacerbations are associated with a faster progression of the disease.

COPD treatment, which can temporarily improve symptoms and lung function, may include bronchodilators to open the airways, inhalers and steroids, said Han, who is a volunteer spokeswoman for the American Lung Association. In the most severe cases, lung transplants might be needed.

Doctors and advocates say many women are unknowingly living with the disease because they lack of awareness or are reluctant to seek help. Stephen Williams, Director of community programs for COPD Foundation says, “If they have trouble breathing when they are going up stairs, they may say ‘I’m just a little older or heavier or out of shape.’ It recently held a webinar about the disease among women. Women put off treatment longer and they mask their symptoms.

Medical schools have long taught about COPD with a textbook that features images of two men, and researchers have detected gender bias in doctors’ diagnoses of the lung disease. In one well-known study, physicians who were presented with hypothetical patients made the correct diagnosis more often for men than for women.

Finally, Gainer was diagnosed with COPD, and now she needs oxygen to get around. She gave up her 50-year smoking habit with the help of a nicotine patch, takes her medications and exercises regularly. “I do everything I am supposed to do,” Gainer said. “I can maybe not halt the progress but I can slow it down.”

A Joan cousin was among a generation of young women who smoked her first cigarette 67 years ago when she was 16 and it was cool to have it. But now she has come to know that she has made her life miserable by just going with the flow of society and it has lead to chronic lung disease. 

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