Sex and Gender in Lung Disease and Sleep Disorders: A State-of-the-Art Review

Amik Sodhi, Margaret Pisani, Marilyn K. Glassberg, Ghada Bourjeily, Carolyn D'Ambrosio

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The terms sex and gender often are used interchangeably, but have specific meaning when it comes to their effects on lung disease. Ample evidence is now available that sex and gender affect the incidence, susceptibility, presentation, diagnosis, and severity of many lung diseases. Some conditions are more prevalent in women, such as asthma. Other conditions are seen almost exclusively in women, like lymphangioleiomyomatosis. Some life stages—such as pregnancy—are unique to women and can affect the onset and course of lung disease. Clinical presentation may differ as well, such as higher number of exacerbations experienced by women with COPD and greater cardiovascular morbidity in women with sleep-disordered breathing. In addition, response to therapy and medication safety may also differ by sex, and yet, pharmacogenomic factors often are not addressed adequately in clinical trials. Various aspects of lung and sleep biology and pathobiology are impacted by female sex and female reproductive transitions. Differential gene expression or organ development can be impacted by these biological differences. Understanding these differences is the first step in moving toward precision medicine for women. This article is a state-of-the-art review of specific effects of sex and gender focused on epidemiology, disease presentation, risk factors, and management of lung diseases. Pathobiological mechanisms explaining sex differences in these diseases are beyond the scope of this article. We review the literature and focus on recent guidelines about using sex and gender in research. We also review sex and gender differences in lung diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)647-658
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • COPD
  • asthma
  • gender
  • lung cancer
  • sex
  • sleep-disordered breathing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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