COPD rates up in women

More women are being diagnosed with a deadly disease related to smoking.

The latest report from the American Lung Association says women are 37-percent more likely to have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, than men.

An estimated seven million women have been diagnosed with the disease, which slowly robs is sufferers of the ability to breathe. And the number of women dying from the disease has more than quadrupled since 1980.

“The reason for that is more women are smoking, so if women are not smoking or if anybody isn’t, they shouldn’t start, and if they are smoking we can certainly help with that, but yes it is increasing,” said Gundersen Health System Physician’s Assistant Rebecca Blank.

Nearly six-percent of the female population in Wisconsin has COPD. It’s the third deadliest disease behind heart disease and cancer.