More than 40 per cent of women with asthma may go on to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a study published online in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.
The research linked data for women with asthma who participated in the Canadian National Breast Screening Study 1980-1985 to health administrative databases. Participants were followed from 1992 to 2015. A competing risks survival model was used to measure the associations between sociodemographic, lifestyle and environmental risk factors and time to COPD incidence.
A total of 4,051 women with asthma were included in the study, of whom 1,701 (42.0%) developed COPD. Analysis showed that low education, high body mass index (BMI), high levels of cigarette smoking, and living in rural areas were associated with incidence of asthma and COPD overlap syndrome (ACOS). Exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollutant was not a risk factor for ACOS.
The authors concluded that individual modifiable risk factors appear to play a more significant role in the development of ACOS in women than environmental factors, such as air pollution. They say prevention strategies targeting health promotion and education may have the potential to reduce ACOS incidence in women with asthma.