Higher COPD Rates in Women, Obesity-Cancer Link, & Concussion Debate Rekindled

Lung Disease Surges Among Women
Higher smoking rates for women have contributed to a dramatic increase in the rate of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in women, according to a report from the American Lung Association.

For decades, COPD was more common in men than women. The gender gap has switched, CNN reports, and women are nearly 40 percent more likely to develop COPD than men.

What’s more, women represent more than 50 percent of the deaths annually linked to COPD, a condition that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Higher rates of COPD in women are directly linked to increased smoking rates for women, the American Lung Association reports.

“Anyone who smokes should be screened for COPD – before symptoms develop,” said Rodney Benjamin, M.D., a pulmonologist at South Miami Hospital.  “COPD is a progressive disease, meaning it typically gets worse over time. That’s why it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider if you’re experiencing any symptoms common to COPD.”

Here are a few stories about COPD and related conditions that have been featured on this blog.

  • Living with COPD
  • Vital Facts on Pulmonary Hypertension
  • 50 Years Later: Anti-Smoking Campaign Still Saving Lives
  • –Sharon Harvey Rosenberg

    Obesity is Now ‘Major’ Link to Cancer

    Obesity now tops tobacco as a leading risk factor for cancer, according to a new research report from the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

    “Obesity is a major, under-recognized contributor to the nation’s cancer toll and is quickly overtaking tobacco as the leading preventable cause of cancer,” according to Dr. Clifford Hudis and his co-authors of a research study from the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

    National Cancer Institute statistics show that obesity is linked to about 84,000 cancer diagnoses annually, according to a CNN report on that topic.

    Obesity as a risk factor for cancer has made headlines on this blog. Here’s how we’ve covered health risks linked to obesity.

  • Obesity and Cancer – A Growing Connection
  • Metabolic Syndrome: Are You at Risk?
  •  The Genetics of Obesity
  • ‘Too Much Sitting’ Linked to Disabilities after Age 60
  • –Sharon Harvey Rosenberg

    Concussion Awareness

    Headlines this past week rekindled a national debate about concussions after a Michigan college football coach kept his quarterback in the game after he was knocked down in a hard-hitting tackle.

    Younger athletes are most susceptible to serious implications from concussions. This week, a varsity football player from suburban New York high school died after colliding with an opponent during a game. He suffered a serious head injury when blocking for a teammate, school officials said.

    It’s estimated that up to 3.8 million concussions occur each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a number that has steadily increased in the last decade. And 47 percent of athletes do not report feeling any symptoms after a concussive blow. A concussion can result in Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and lasting effects can include impaired thinking or memory, and problems with movement, vision or hearing or emotional functioning.

    “Concussions are more than a bump on or hit to the head and need to be taken seriously,” said Richard Hamilton, M.D., clinical director of the Brain Injury Program at Baptist Health Neuroscience Center. “Educating the medical community, coaches, athletes and their parents to recognize the symptoms of concussion and the importance of prompt evaluation and treatment is key to preventing brain injuries.”

    Dr. Hamilton recently spoke about concussion prevention and treatment to a local group of student athletes, parents and coaches.

    Articles about concussions among young athletes posted on this blog include:

  • Football Helmets Offer Little Protection from Concussions
  • Concussions Hit Younger Athletes Harder

    –Tanya Walton





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