Respiratory diseases are the fifth most dangerous health condition in the US, with millions of fatalities recorded over the past few years. While both men and women are susceptible to these diseases, certain factors make it so that some pulmonary conditions appear exclusively (or predominantly) in women. Some of them and their major causes are highlighted below:
- Pulmonary Embolism
- Pulmonary Fibrosis
- Pulmonary Hypertension
Predominantly a male disease in the past, recent trends indicate that women are now 37% likelier to have COPD than men (CDC). Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease refers to 2 lung conditions: chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It is mostly caused by cigarette smoke, and symptoms include excessive mucus production, coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
When blood clots travel through the bloodstream and get stuck in an artery in the lungs, it causes a condition called pulmonary embolism. Small clots reduce oxygen supply to the bloodstream and cause breathing difficulty. Large clots, however, are often fatal. Contraceptive pills and menopausal hormone treatments increase the risk of pulmonary embolism.
Pulmonary fibrosis is a rare condition that causes lung tissue to scar and stiffen over time. This eventually affects the lungs’ ability to provide the bloodstream with oxygen. Common causes include radiation and chemotherapy from breast cancer treatment, some pulmonary diseases, and autoimmune diseases.
Pulmonary hypertension is seen almost exclusively in women. When increased pressure causes the right side of the heart to pump blood faster into the lungs, it leads to elevated blood pressure in the organ. If not treated quickly, there is a high risk of heart failure. This condition is caused by childhood infections, some lung conditions, and autoimmune diseases.
The Cypress Family Clinic in Texas provides primary care for lung and breathing problems. We also organize annual physical exams to ensure that more serious pulmonary conditions are caught quickly. Call 832-786-4652 now for inquiries or to make an appointment.