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Are women suffering from COPD more sensitive to tobacco and its ingredients?

Dubravka Pelicarić ; Klinika za plućne bolesti „Jordanovac”, KBC Zagreb, Zagreb
Bojana Butorac Petanjek ; Klinika za plućne bolesti „Jordanovac”, KBC Zagreb, Zagreb
Sanja Grle Popović ; Klinika za plućne bolesti „Jordanovac”, KBC Zagreb, Zagreb
Tajana Jalušić-Glunčić ; Klinika za plućne bolesti „Jordanovac”, KBC Zagreb, Zagreb
Mile Bogdan ; Klinika za plućne bolesti „Jordanovac”, KBC Zagreb, Zagreb

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Aim: To determine the possible difference in disease severity between men and women suffering from chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) attributed to smoking. Sub- jects and methods: The study comprised a total of 250 subjects suffering from COPD: 82 (32,8 %) women and 168 (67,2 %) men with the average age of 68.2 years. Subjects were first divided into two gender-based groups. Each of the latter groups was subsequently subdivided into the following subgroups: non-smokers, ex-smokers and active smokers. The study group comprised of women was dominated by non-smokers (N = 35; i.e. 42 %), while that comprised of men was dominated by smokers (N = 58; i.e. 34.5 %). In line with the GOLD criteria observed back in 2010, subjects were divided into three groups (GOLD I, GOLD II and GOLD III) based on their disease severity. Results: Comparison of the length of smoking expressed in the number of cigarettes smoked per day divided by 20 (no of cigarettes in a single pack) and further multiplied by the number of years of active smoking (pack/year; p/y), made be- tween former and active smokers of both genders, shows inter-gender differences in disease severity. A lower total number of former and active female smokers having a lower p/y attains the same degree of the disease severity as men having a substantially higher p/y (p =0.009). Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that female airways might be more sensitive to tobacco smoke and its ingredients as compared to those of men.


chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, gender, smoking

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