Skip to content

Forty-two percent of Women with Asthma Developed COPD

A male person, performing a simple lung function test. He has to blow into the tube, so the balls in the device lift a little bit according to the power of his breath.

Women with asthma are at high risk for developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma and COPD overlap syndrome (ACOS).

A Canadian study was published July 17, 2018, in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society Journal by researchers from the University of Toronto, Carlton University and Western University to determine why women with asthma succumb to COPD.

Participants in the Study

Information was collected for 4,051 Ontario women with asthma who participated in the Canadian National Breast Screening Study from 1980-1985. These participants were followed from 1992-2015. The mean age at the end of the study was 79.

Of the 4,051 women, 1,701 (42%) developed COPD.

Results of the Study

Results of the study concluded that high risk individual factors like being overweight, cigarette smoking, low education and living in a rural area were shown to be greater contributing factors to contracting COPD than air pollution with exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5). These factors are usually associated with a low socioeconomic status and often there is poor compliance with taking medicines and this leads to more asthma attacks. Each asthma attack increases the risk for contracting COPD.

Prevention Strategies

The researchers conclude that education and health promotion may be successful prevention strategies to reduce ACOS occurrence in this kind of population. Women who smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for five years were more prone to develop ACOS than those who smoked less or never smoked. For more about the dangers of smoking for seniors see our blog post from March 21, 2018. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) smoking has also been associated with cancers found all over the body including:

  • lung cancer
  • pancreatic cancer
  • cancer of the esophagus
  • mouth cancer
  • throat and tongue cancer
  • cancer of the voice box
  • liver cancer
  • stomach cancer
  • colorectal cancer
  • leukemia
  • kidney and renal cancer
  • cancer of the uterus and cervix
  • bladder cancer


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease COPD is a progressive lung disease that affects breathing and in fact breathing becomes more and more difficult. It is usually caused by emphysema or chronic bronchitis. It can make for very poor quality of life, especially as many afflicted with COPD have to be on oxygen therapy all the time and must have an oxygen tank available at all times. This greatly impedes normal day-to-day activities even if a portable oxygen tank can be obtained. People with COPD are literally gasping for breath most of the time. They also have times when their symptoms worsen and these are referred to as exacerbations. For more about COPD please see our blog post from June 20, 2018.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Pulmonary rehabilitation may be carried out while a person is living at home, but in many cases it is preferable in a rehabilitation facility like the Ditmas Park Rehabilitation and Care Center in Brooklyn, NY. Ditmas Park has a state-of-the-art pulmonary rehabilitation and care unit. To read more about pulmonary rehabilitation please see our blog post from February 10, 2018.

Brooklyn Hospitals near Ditmas Park Rehab and Care Center

New York Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital

NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn (formerly named NYU Lutheran Medical Center)

SUNY Downstate Medical Center – University Hospital of Brooklyn

NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County

Maimonides Medical Center


Women with asthma should be encouraged to quit smoking, lose weight and taught about the dangers of not sticking to medical treatments for preventing asthma attacks since every attack increases the risk to develop COPD.


Posted in

This will close in 0 seconds

Scroll To Top