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COPD On The Rise In Women

Aired 6/5/13 on KPBS News.

Women are under-diagnosed and under-treated for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, according to a new report from the American Lung Association.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, is on the increase among women. A new report reveals the disease has killed more women than men every year since 2000.

Centers for Disease Control, 2011

COPD prevalence by sex and age.

COPD is a progressive lung disease that makes it increasingly tough to breathe. It's most often caused by smoking.

The new report from the American Lung Association says women are 37 percent more likely to have COPD than men.

The Lung Association's Jenny Bard said women with the disease are often misdiagnosed.

"It's been thought of as a man's disease for so long, that many clinicians aren't expecting to see it, and therefore miss the proper diagnosis," Bard explained. "COPD, for instance, is often mistaken for asthma."

COPD is the third leading cause of death. An estimated 675,000 women in California have it.

There is no cure for COPD, but it can be managed with proper care.

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