Differences found between men and women in lung disease

A multicenter study led by the Institute Hospital del Mar for Medical Research (IMIM) has revealed that women with bronchiectasis, a highly prevalent lung disease that causes abundant accumulation of secretions in the lungs, have a lower severity level than men.

The study, published in the journal ‘Biomedicines’, has analyzed the data of more than 2,000 patients with bronchiectasis, and confirms that the physiology of women and men does not react in the same way to diseases or to treatments.

The work has been led by the Research Group on Muscle Wasting and Cachexia in Chronic Respiratory Diseases and Lung Cancer of the IMIM-Hospital del Mar and has analyzed the data of 2,121 patients, from the Spanish Computerized Registry of Patients with Bronchiectasis (RIBRON), of which two out of three (1,368) were women.

Three different scales

The researchers took into account several clinical parameters when classifying their level of severity on three different scales, which include clinical parameters such as lung function, sputum, nutritional status, colonization by more aggressive germs or the radiological extent of the disease. bronchiectasis

Taking into account these factors, women had clearly lower severity rates to those of men in the three clinical scales used in the study, although among the group of men there were more smokers.

Body mass

They also saw important differences in nutritional parameters between men and women, with a higher body mass index in men compared to women.

“These results indicate that, in the case of patients with bronchiectasis, it is necessary to take their gender into account when considering the follow-up of the disease,” said Dr. Esther Barreiro, lead author of the study and researcher at IMIM and of the CIBER of Respiratory Diseases (CIBERAS).

A second study, also led by Barreiro and published in the journal ‘International Journal of Enviromental Research and Public Health’, analyzed the concentrations of eosinophils in the blood, a cell of the immune system present in the lungs as a reaction to the inflammatory process caused by bronchiectasis, of 906 patients, also from the RIBRON registry.

Help for treatments

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Contrary to expectations, the patients with the highest concentrations, 70% of the total, were those with a less severe level of severity of the disease, while those with lower concentrations of eosinophils they suffered from more severe respiratory disease, poorer lung function, and poorer nutritional status, with higher levels of systemic inflammation.

According to Barreiro, “given these data, we must better characterize patients with bronchiectasis in customized phenotypic profiles to offer personalized strategies, especially in those with low concentrations of eosinophils, and this fact must be taken into account when choosing certain treatments targeted by these cells, to prevent a decrease from causing a worsening of the patient’s condition“.


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