Every five out of ten women are facing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and that affects women differently and with a greater degree of severity than men. So what is COPD? Pulmonary vascular disease is the medical term for disease affecting the blood vessels leading to or from the lungs. Most forms of pulmonary vascular disease cause shortness of breath.
- Chronic Cough
- Excess Phlegm
- Breathlessness, especially with activity.
- Frequent respiratory infections
- ExacerbationCOPD in women: the facts
- Women are more likely to die from COPD than lung cancer and breast cancer combined.
- In India currently, it is the second largest killer responsible for 22 million deaths.
- Women have higher rates of COPD than men, particularly at a younger age.
Smoking is by far recognized to be the most important factor for the development of COPD. People who smoke to show that they are modern and have some status are the foolish among all, because they are making their lives no less than hell. History of smoking cigarettes for women was started in 1968 when Phillip Morris launches the very first cigarette brand marketed especially for women. The slogan for promoting the brand was;
“You’ve come a long way, babyYou have got your own cigarettes now
- In childhood, girls have more developed lungs than boys, but during puberty, boys’ thoracic cages grow more, and they end up with 25% greater lung function than girls.
- Women have smaller lungs and smaller airways, with the less respiratory muscle to breathe in and out.
- Lung irritants get more concentrated and cause more damage.
- Estrogen converts the metabolism of chemicals in cigarette smoke, making female lungs more susceptible to oxidant stress and airway injury.
- Estrogen stimulates eosinophilic inflammation, a type of inflammation that can worsen asthma, longstanding asthma contributes to COPD.
- Women are more likely to develop lung problems with less smoke exposure and at a very young age.COPD in non-smoker
There are other irritants available in our surrounding other than tobacco which can cause COPD and women are vulnerable. Biomass fuels are also considered a major cause for COPD. Women, who do most of the cooking for households in rural villages, are the most affected. Mosquito coils at homes for killing mosquitoes are somewhere killing us instead of them. And women working in cottage industries like brick making, fish smoking, tobacco curing are affecting their health with wealth.
Smoking behaviors in India are also peculiar with a large number of people using non- conventional form of tobacco in hookah, bidi, or chillum. Traditionally these forms of tobacco have been believed to be innocuous because of a variety of reasons like the passage of smoke through water in case of hookah. So it is time to be smart and aware of what is good for our health and do something really productive with our body.
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