Pulmonary Medicine Expert Dr. Michael Lansing Discusses The Rise of COPD in Women
More than 7 million American women live with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and research shows more women are being diagnosed with and dying of COPD in recent years.
Sandra Morris, of Reisterstown, was a smoker diagnosed with COPD 14 years ago.
"I thought it was a cold," Morris said.
She is one of the many women who live with the disease, which affects airways, making it hard to breathe.
"I'm more afraid of going out in cold season, flu season, and the hands, I constantly use hand sanitizer, but other than that, I'm not letting it beat me yet," Morris said.
Statistics show the number of deaths among women from COPD has increased fourfold over the last three decades.
According to Michael W. Lansing, M.D., FACP, FCCP, is an experienced pulmonologist at Mercy Personal Physicians at Reisterstown, said there are several reasons behind the rise in women being diagnosed.
"Advertising hit women so in the 1970s and 1980s. They started smoking, and now we're seeing that consequence, so that’s probably one thing," Dr. Lansing said. "In the past, it was perceived as just being a male disease and women were underdiagnosed, so now they’re being diagnosed, so the numbers are going up because of that."
Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath and chest tightness. COPD affects women more than men.
"(In) women, it has a great impact on them, their quality of life, they have more depression associated with it, anxiety associated with it, and that makes it more difficult for them, if they're smokers, to stop smoking," Dr. Lansing said.
Morris is on oxygen 24/7 and uses inhaler therapies.
"I go to pulmonary rehab twice a week, which is an exercise program which I feel keeps me healthy," she said.
There is no cure for COPD, so Lansing said the goal is to keep the disease from progressing. In the worst-case scenario, some patients need a lung transplant.
View Mercy pulmonary expert Dr. Michael Lansing’s interview regarding COPD and related lung illness.
Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit www.mdmercy.com, MDMercyMedia on Facebook, Twitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.