Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Characteristics of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Spain from a gender perspective

Pilar Carrasco-Garrido1, Javier de Miguel-Díez2*, Javier Rejas-Gutierrez3, Antonio Martín-Centeno4, Elena Gobartt-Vázquez5, Valentin Hernandez-Barrera1, Angel Gil de Miguel1 and Rodrigo Jimenez-Garcia1

Author Affiliations

1 School of Health Sciences, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Alcorcón (Madrid), Spain

2 Department of Pneumology, Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón, Madrid, Spain

3 Department of Health Outcomes Research, Medical Unit, Pfizer España, Alcobendas (Madrid), Spain

4 Medical Unit, Pfizer España, Alcobendas (Madrid), Spain

5 Medical Department, Boehringer Ingelheim España, San Cugat del Vallés (Barcelona), Spain

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BMC Pulmonary Medicine 2009, 9:2  doi:10.1186/1471-2466-9-2

Published: 2 January 2009



The objective of this study was to analyze the clinical and management characteristics of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in men and women, to determine possible gender-associated differences between the two groups of patients.


An observational and descriptive epidemiological study (EPIDEPOC study). The study included patients with stable COPD and aged ≥ 40 years, evaluated in primary care. Data were collected relating to sociodemographic variables, clinical characteristics, quality of life (SF-12), severity of disease and treatment. The results obtained in men and women were compared.


A total of 10,711 patients (75.6% males and 24.4% females) were evaluated. Significant differences were found between males and females in relation to the following parameters: age (67.4 ± 9.2 years in men vs 66.1 ± 10.8 in women, p < 0.05), smoking (91.9% of the men were smokers or ex-smokers vs 30% of the women), comorbidity (the frequency of hypertension, diabetes, anxiety and depression was greater in women, while ischemic heart disease was more common in men), mental component of quality of life (49.4 ± 10.3 in men vs 44.6 ± 11.9 in women, p < 0.05) and severity of disease (56.5 ± 13.3% in men vs 60.7 ± 3.2 in women, p < 0.05). As regards treatment, the percentage use of long-acting b2-adrenergic agonists, anticholinergic agents, theophyllines and mucolytic agents was significant greater in men. The total annual cost of COPD was greater in males than in females (1989.20 ± 2364.47 € vs 1724.53 ± 2106.90, p < 0.05).


The women with COPD evaluated in this study were younger, smoked less and have more comorbidity, a poorer quality of life, and lesser disease severity than men with COPD. However, they generated a lesser total annual cost of COPD than men.