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Sex discrepancies in COPD patients and burden of the disease in females: a nationwide study in Greece (Greek Obstructive Lung Disease Epidemiology and health ecoNomics: GOLDEN study)

Authors Papaioannou AI, Bania E, Alexopoulos EC, Mitsiki E, Malli F, Gourgoulianis KI

Received 5 August 2013

Accepted for publication 28 October 2013

Published 17 February 2014 Volume 2014:9(1) Pages 203—213

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S52500

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Andriana I Papaioannou,1,2 Eleni Bania,2 Evangelos C Alexopoulos,3 Eirini Mitsiki,4 Foteini Malli,2 Konstantinos I Gourgoulianis2

13rd Respiratory Medicine Department, Sismanoglio General Hospital, Marousi, Athens, Greece; 2Respiratory Medicine Department, University of Thessaly Medical School University Hospital of Larissa, Larissa, Greece; 3Occupational Health Department, Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center, Athens, Greece; 4Medical Department, Novartis Hellas, Athens, Greece

Background: The prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in females appears to be increasing. Recent studies have revealed that the percentage of women with COPD in Greece is approximately 12.5%.
Aims: To evaluate the burden of COPD among males and females in Greece through a nationwide cross-sectional survey and to explore sex differences regarding functional characteristics and exacerbation frequency.
Methods: Data collection was completed in a 6-month period. The present study followed a nationwide sampling approach of respiratory medicine physicians. The sampling approach included three steps: 1) estimation of expected incidence and prevalence of COPD cases in each prefecture of Greece and in total; 2) estimation of expected incidence of COPD cases per physician in each prefecture; and 3) creation of a frame of three different sampling zones. Following this sampling, data were provided by 199 respiratory physicians.
Results: The participating physicians provided data from 6,125 COPD patients. Female patients represented 28.7% of the study participants. Female COPD patients were, on average, 5 years younger than male COPD patients. Never smokers accounted for 9.4% within female patients, compared to 2.7% of males (P<0.001). Female patients were characterized by milder forms of the disease. Comorbidities were more prevalent in men, with the exception of gastroesophageal reflux (14.6% versus 17.1% for men and women, respectively, P=0.013). Female COPD patients had a higher expected number of outpatient visits per year (by 8.9%) than males (P<0.001), although hospital admissions did not differ significantly between sexes (P=0.116). Females had fewer absences from work due to COPD per year, by 19.0% (P<0.001), compared to males.
Conclusion: The differences observed between male and female COPD patients provide valuable information which could aid the prevention and management of COPD in Greece.

Keywords: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, exacerbations, comorbidities

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