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Gender Differences in COPD Exacerbations

In a large study cohort of patients, the risk of first moderate or severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbation was greater in women than in men. The retrospective cohort study systematically assessed differences in COPD expression between women and men in UK primary care clinics who were newly diagnosed with COPD. Researchers found:

  • The cohort included 22,429 incident patients; 48% of patients with COPD were women.
  • The risk of first moderate or severe exacerbation was 17% greater in women than in men with a median time-to-first exacerbation of 504 days for women and 637 days for men.
  • The annual rate of moderate to severe exacerbations was higher in women vs men in the first, second, and third year of follow-up.


Stolz D, et al. Differences in COPD exacerbation risk between women and men: Analysis from the UK clinical practice research datalink data. [Published online ahead of print May 16, 2019]. CHEST. doi:10.1016/j.chest.2019.04.107.