Female smokers more vulnerable to lung disease?

May 18, 2009 2:15:14 PM PDT
A new discovery reveals women tend to develop lung disease at a younger age and with fewer years smoking. Doctors in Norway studied nearly 1,000 patients with chronic pulmonary obstructive disorder, or COPD . Results showed the female patients tended to be younger than the men. They were also more likely to be diagnosed before age 60 even though they smoked less.

That suggests it takes fewer packs of cigarettes to trigger lung damage in women than it does for men.

There are a couple possible reasons for this. One theory is women have smaller airways and they metabolize chemicals in smoke at a different rate. Differences in gender or hormones may also play a role.

This research was just presented at the American Thoracic Society meeting in California.