Gap closed between male and female COPD-related  hospital admissions

In 1995, more men than women were admitted to hospital for chronic pulmonary diseases. Subsequently, the gender gap gradually narrowed and has currently disappeared altogether. COPD typically manifests itself later in life among heavy (ex-)smokers.

Fewer men in hospital for COPD

In 2010, 10 in every 10 thousand women in the Neterlands were admitted to hospital for chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) compared with 9 in every 10 thousand men. In 2008 and 2009, the ratios for men and women were the same and the gender gap for COPD-related hospital admissions has closed. In 1995, the ratios were 15 in every 10 thousand men against 9 in every 10 thousand women.

The trend observed in COPD-related hospital admissions varies from the overall trend with respect to hospital admissions, which grew considerably over the period 2000-2010 (32 percent for men and 41 percent for women).

COPD-related hospital admissions, standardised

COPD-related hospital admissions, standardised

Smoking highest risk factor for COPD

Chronic pulmonary diseases damage the lungs and the bronchial tubes and induce shortness of breath later in life. COPD is mainly found among over-40 (ex-)smokers. COPD-related hospital admissions indeed increase from the age of 40 onwards.

COPD-related hospital admissions by age, 2010*

COPD-related hospital admissions by age, 2010*

More COPD-related hospital admissions among men over 65

More men than women aged 65 and older are admitted to hospital for COPD. The same trend is observed in GP practices. This is probably due to the fact that, in the 1980s and 1990s, middle-aged male smokers significantly outnumbered their female counterparts.

In the 40-65 age bracket, the share of COPD-related hospital admissions is, however, higher among women. As a result, the total number of female patients was marginally higher than the total number of male patients in 2010. 

Gerard Verweij