Background and objectives: Recent studies have reported several gender-associated differences among patients with COPD, but gender-associated differences in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in patients with COPD have not yet been clarified. This study evaluated gender differences in dyspnoea and HRQoL in patients with COPD.
Methods: Study participants were 156 patients with COPD (men 117, women 39); men were individually matched to women by age and FEV(1)% predicted to give a ratio of 3:1 (male : female). Study participants were evaluated for dyspnoea and completed HRQoL questionnaires. An oxygen cost diagram (OCD) was used to assess the degree of dyspnoea and Morale Scale was used to assess subjective well-being. St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) and SF-36 were used for HRQoL evaluation. The findings in the male and female groups were compared.
Results: The OCD and Morale Scale showed significantly lower values for female patients with COPD. Disease-specific HRQoL assessed by SGRQ was significantly worse, except for symptoms, in female patients with COPD. Generic HRQoL assessed by SF-36 was also significantly worse, except for general health and social functioning. Stepwise multiple regression showed OCD, Morale Scale and 6-min walking distance to be significantly associated with total SGRQ score in the male group, and Morale Scale and 6-min walking distance were significant associations in the female group.
Conclusions: Gender differences exist in dyspnoea and HRQoL in patients with COPD. These need to be considered when designing treatment strategies for COPD patients.