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2005 - 2015
Women & COPD
According to Statiscs Canada, and reported for 2009, " 4.2% of Canadians aged 35 and olderó4.0% of men and 4.5% of womenóreported that they had been diagnosed with COPD."
Why is that?
- Could it be that more women are diagnosed by our GP's than men thus treatment is started earlier?
-Could it be because men wait longer to talk to a Dr?
- Perhaps it's because the effects of smoking is worse for women?
- Could it be because of our smaller body mass, lungs and airways?
- Perhaps more women were willing to report a diagnosis?
Ironically more women than men are familiar with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (54% vs 37%) and for the acronym of "COPD, " it's 20 vs 7%.
According to the Canadian Lung Association "Since 2000, female mortality due to COPD has risen at DOUBLE the rate of breast cancer."
Women use a greater amount of their lungs than men. This means it takes more effort to breathe; it also means increased shortness of breath (SOB). When you combine the smaller body and airways and the need for more oxygen, and if you take the same disease stage of a man and a woman; women will experience more symptoms.
Then what happens? You get short of breath then start to reduce your physical activity when it reality you need to INCREASE it.
Statistically speaking; it's apparent that your family Dr. may not suggest this non-intrusive, painless breathing test until your symptoms are much further along even though most GP's have ready access to it. It's also obvious our Government isn't going to do anything any time soon.
So that leaves it up to you.
Spirometry testing should be as routine as mammograms, Pap Tests and Breast Exams; particularly if you fall in the "suspect" category." Check the warning signals or symptoms. If you've answered yes to any one question, and if you have a history of smoking (it doesn't matter that you stopped awhile ago), ASK your Dr. for a spirometry test.
The quicker you learn about this disease and start treatment, the better. Not only will your prognosis be more favorable; but once you're on the right medicines your physical and emotional abilities will increase; you'll feel better overall.
This page was last updated December 2013