Table 3 Educating women about their COPD for better disease control

From: Call to action: improving primary care for women with COPD

Topic Special considerations in women
1. Risk avoidance, e.g. smoking cessation and avoidance of passive smoke exposure Women may find smoking cessation more challenging than men so this should be considered in the level of intervention and advice provided.54 However, smoking cessation is associated with even greater benefits in women than men,55 reinforcing the benefits of investing effort into this intervention
2. Early recognition of symptoms/exacerbations and seeking medical help Women may dismiss their symptoms as a smoker’s cough3 and there may be a tendency for women to feel embarrassed/guilty.39 Women are more prone to exacerbations so they should be able to identify signs of exacerbations earlier and be able to react to them. Campaigns to remove social stigma and increase symptom awareness may encourage women to seek medical help earlier
3. Benefits of physical exercise Tailored specifically for women
4. Dietary advice To ensure maintenance of a healthy body weight and reducing risk of certain comorbidities (e.g. osteoporosis)
5. Symptom management The symptom burden in women with COPD may be greater than in men with COPD
6. Inhalation technique As appropriate
7. Treatment plans To include exacerbation action plans to encourage women to respond to increased symptoms