American Lung Association Reinforces Awareness about High Risk of COPD in Women

• The rate of COPD among women has climbed steadily in recent years • Printed copies of the American Lung Association’s report, Taking Her Breath Away: The Rise of COPD in Women, now accessible through the Lung HelpLine

Washington, D.C. (April 22, 2014)

The American Lung Association, with sponsorship support from Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc., announced a national, public re-release of Taking Her Breath Away: The Rise of COPD in Women, a recent report exploring the unequal burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) among women. COPD, a progressive lung disease that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, is the third leading cause of death in the United States, and is now 37 percent more prevalent among women than men. More than 7 million women in the United States are currently living with COPD and millions of others have the disease but have yet to be diagnosed, possibly due to the common misdiagnosis of asthma for the female COPD patient.

The consumer-friendly report is now available online at  It is also available through the Lung HelpLine (1-800-LUNGUSA), a resource staffed by experienced nurses and respiratory therapists to answer questions about lung disease and offer support.

“The American Lung Association recognizes that COPD is taking a disproportionate and devastating toll on the lives of women and their families in this country,” said Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “Too often, there is a misperception that COPD is a man’s disease, often leading to delayed or missed diagnoses for women. This report helps educate women about their risk for this disease and what is needed to improve disease management services and social support. As part of our fight to protect lung health, we want to ensure that more COPD patients get treatment as early as possible and improve the quality of lives for women with this disease.”

“As a company committed to respiratory care, Sunovion is proud to work with the American Lung Association to sponsor the re-launch of the Taking Her Breath Away: The Rise of COPD in Women report in an effort to raise awareness concerning the impact of COPD,” said Richard Russell, executive vice president and chief commercial officer for Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. “The disparities revealed in this report are  a call to action for all of us who have the opportunity and the dedication to improve the lives of these patients.”

Research suggests that women may face a higher risk of COPD because of the complex impact of gender roles and biological differences on the interplay between the two main risk factors of COPD: exposure to environmental toxins (typically tobacco use) and personal susceptibility.

The report, which was originally released in June 2013 by the Lung Association, notes that the number of deaths among women from COPD has more than quadrupled since 1980, and since 2000 the disease has claimed the lives of more women than men in this country each year. Female COPD patients are also disproportionately affected by higher rates of anxiety, depression and generally lower qualities of life. Women with COPD may struggle because of generally lower incomes or unemployment and higher out-of-pocket medical expenses than men.



About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases.  For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit:

About Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Sunovion is a leading pharmaceutical company dedicated to discovering, developing and commercializing therapeutic products that advance the science of medicine in the Psychiatry & Neurology and Respiratory disease areas and improve the lives of patients and their families.

Sunovion, an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co., Ltd., is headquartered in Marlborough, Mass. More information about Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. is available at