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Breaking Down COPD Stereotypes

31 Aug 2014
| Under COPD, Lifestyle | Posted by
Breaking Down COPD Stereotypes Lung Institute

When we think about stereotypes, we don’t usually associate medical conditions with having such problems. Over the years though, more conditions within the medical field have taken on negative stereotypes that have gradually impacted the way that we diagnose and treat certain conditions. This same practice can especially be seen in the understanding of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

This chronic lung disease affects over 24 million in the United States and is currently considered one of the worst medical conditions among human beings. You may be wondering though, how exactly can a condition like COPD have stereotypes attached to it? Let’s breakdown some of these COPD stereotypes.

Understanding COPD Stereotypes

One of the primary barriers to finding a cure for COPD is the misunderstanding and stereotypes surrounding the diagnosis. COPD does not only impact the stereotypical patient, usually a middle-aged white male who began smoking as a teenager. Most COPD stereotypes have usually been classified as a smoking condition, only affecting the smokers. The new—and real—face of COPD shows that the disease does not discriminate by race, gender or age.

According to an article published in the Primary Care Respiratory Journal, COPD has historically been viewed as a disease of older, white, male smokers. However, this is not the case anymore. Women may be more susceptible to COPD than men, and the disease course may be reflective of this fact. Researchers in the article found that there was indeed a difference in the way men and women with COPD symptoms were treated and diagnosed. Some of the most common differences included a different form of treatment based on age, sex and smoking history. At any rate, the article does recommend that further research is needed to improve the treatments and response from physicians.

Of course more time will be needed to understand the course of COPD stereotypes. The best course of action among patients and doctors is to know that this severe lung condition can affect everyone, smoker and non-smoker alike. If you are curious about the many faces of COPD, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has posted a great infographic showing just how much COPD can affect people. You can view that link here.

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