Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - May 23, 2018 


The Mueller probe lands another cooperating witness. Also on the rundown: The GAO gives a green light for CHIP cuts; and hurricane experts say – don’t let down guard down.

Daily Newscasts

Report: COPD More Prevalent in Women than Men

PHOTO: About 36,000 more women than men in Washington have COPD, a chronic lung condition that makes breathing tougher and is exacerbated by smoking and air pollution. Photo credit: iStockPhoto.com.
PHOTO: About 36,000 more women than men in Washington have COPD, a chronic lung condition that makes breathing tougher and is exacerbated by smoking and air pollution. Photo credit: iStockPhoto.com.
June 6, 2013

SPOKANE, Wash. - COPD is the nation's third-leading cause of death, and in Washington, almost 5 percent of the population has been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. However, a new report calls attention to those who have not yet gotten that diagnosis.

The American Lung Association (ALA) report says women are 37 percent more likely to have COPD than men. It's partly because women have smaller lungs, making pollutants and secondhand smoke more concentrated in their system.

Sheryl McDonald, lung health manager for Washington state, ALA of the Mountain Pacific, says a lot of people just assume shortness of breath means they are out of shape or getting older.

"If you are having some symptoms that really seem out of the norm," she said, "just for peace of mind, it's a great idea to see your doctor or health care worker and express your concerns, and perhaps have a spirometry test to rule out COPD."

The spirometry test is simple, she explained, requiring breathing into a device that measures lung function. In Washington, more than 124,000 women have been diagnosed with COPD - 36,000 more women than men.

Dr. Steven Brown, a pulmonary specialist, says smoking is a huge factor. He notes that the first wave of female COPD cases came during World War II, when women began smoking at work - and the trend continued with what he called the "Virginia Slims generation."

"These are women who were, unfortunately, duped by tobacco marketing during the 1960s, where tobacco was linked to the women's movement, very inappropriately," he said.

Since 2000, COPD has claimed the lives of more women than men, according to the report. Brown said he is optimistic that education and continued efforts to discourage smoking will help. The number of deaths among women from COPD has more than quadrupled since 1980.

The report, "Taking Her Breath Away: The Rise of COPD in Women," is available at www.lung.org.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA