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Respir Med. 2012 Mar;106(3):367-73. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2011.09.014. Epub 2011 Oct 20.

Impairment of quality of life in women with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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Centro de Salud Fuentes de Ebro, Zaragoza, Spain.



There is ample evidence of the differences between genders in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The purpose of this study was to identify the factors that contribute to these differences.


This was a multi-center, cross-sectional observational study including 4574 patients of 40 years of age and older who attended primary care and pulmonary clinics. Data were collected on COPD characteristics, comorbidities, quality of life as assessed by both the EuroQoL 5D questionnaire (EQ-5D) and the Airways Questionnaire 20 (AQ20), and prevalence of anxiety and depression. Data collected were compared between males and females.


Mean age was 67 years and 740 patients (16.7%) were female. Women were significantly younger, had better pulmonary function, and smoked less; however, they showed poorer quality of life (EQ-5D: 0.6 [SD = 0.3] versus 0.7 [0.3]; p < 0.001; and AQ20: 10.4 [SD = 4.6] versus 9.2 [SD = 4.5]; p < 0.001) and a higher rate of anxiety (34.5% versus 20.6%; p < 0.001) and depression (31.7% versus 22.1%; p < 0.001). In a multivariate analysis, female gender was significantly associated to poorer quality of life (AQ20) but not to a higher rate of dyspnea.


Women with COPD are younger and have lower rates of impaired lung function; however, they show poorer quality of life and more frequent COPD-associated anxiety and depression.

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