More women than men develop COPD in Iceland Skip to content

More women than men develop COPD in Iceland

According to a new Icelandic study, twice as many women in their forties develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than men in their forties, possibly because of heavy smoking among Icelandic women.

Eighteen percent of participants in the study, carried out using a random sample, suffered from COPD; 8.1 percent of women between 40 and 50 had developed the disease, but only 4.8 percent of men between 40 and 50, Morgunbladid reports.

Cigarette smoking is the main cause of COPD; 80 to 90 percent of all known cases can be traced back to smoking. In most countries men are more likely to develop the disease than women.

According to lung specialist Thórarinn Gíslason, who worked on the study, Icelandic women smoke more than women in other countries and women seem to be more sensitive to tobacco smoke than men.

COPD is a group of diseases, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and is characterized by a constricted airflow in the airway, which is not fully reversible. COPD is expected to become the third most common cause of death in the world by 2020.

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