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Panminerva Medica 2018 December;60(4):192-9

DOI: 10.23736/S0031-0808.18.03463-8


lingua: Inglese

Gender differences in chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases: a narrative review

Antonello NICOLINI 1 , Elena BARBAGELATA 2, Elena TAGLIABUE 3, Daniela COLOMBO 3, Fiammetta MONACELLI 4, Fulvio BRAIDO 3

1 Unit of Respiratory Diseases, General Hospital, Sestri Levante, Genoa, Italy; 2 Department of Internal Medicine, General Hospital, Sestri Levante, Genoa, Italy; 3 Department of Internal Medicine (DiMI), Clinic of Respiratory Diseases and Allergology, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy; 4 Department of Internal Medicine (DiMI), Clinic of Geriatrics, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is generally considered to be prevalent in males. However, smoking is rising in women in developing and developed countries, while exposure to biomass fuel for domestic purposes is a recognized risk factor among females. Females developing more severe COPD patterns due to tobacco exposure than men may be due to a genetic predisposition, a greater dose-dependent effect of smoke related to smaller airways caliber and an increased oxidative stress with augmented TGF-beta1 signaling. Gender hormones also seem to be involved in tobacco-smoke metabolism and in lung and pulmonary development. while menopause is associated with accelerated alveolar loss and decline of lung function pulmonary function. The time to diagnosis differs between the sexes since a lower rate of spirometry is performed in women. Also, comorbidities vary between genders: osteoporosis, inflammatory bowel diseases, reflux, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, and mental diseases are more common in women. Women pay more attention to breathlessness, maybe due to higher emotional response and anxiety. These elements could lead to higher hospitalization rates in women. The aim of this review is to provide the available evidence with the aim of inviting healthcare professionals to evaluate gender differences in patients with COPD, key point for optimizing the care plan.

KEY WORDS: Lung diseases - Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease - Sex - Patient-centered care

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