Despite the fact that more and more women in this country are affected by respiratory illness, women frequently do not receive appropriate care. That’s why the University of Michigan Women's Respiratory Clinic, part of the Department of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, is dedicated to the care of female patients with respiratory disease. We have a unique perspective and a unique understanding about women’s respiratory health.
Women’s respiratory health deserves extra attention for multiple reasons:
- Women have a higher rate of asthma than men.
- In North America, women outnumber men in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in all but the oldest age categories.
- Since 2000, women exceeded men in the number of deaths attributable to COPD.
Studies have shown that women with lung disease are less likely to receive appropriate medical tests, such as pulmonary function testing. Women with COPD are also more likely than men to be misdiagnosed as having asthma. And women are less likely than men to receive subspecialty referrals, preventing them from receiving care from a specialist who thoroughly understands their diseases.
In addition, the unique biology of women must be considered in prescribing medications and treatment plans. For example, steroids are commonly prescribed for patients with asthma and COPD; however, women are at increased risk for osteoporosis, which can be made worse by steroid use. For pregnant patients, physicians must be familiar with the safety profile of medications to be used during pregnancy. Our faculty and staff are aware of these issues specific to women with respiratory disease and have designed the Women's Respiratory Clinic program to target those needs.
Comprehensive Respiratory Services, Just for Women
We care for female patients with all types of respiratory disease, including:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Lung cancer
- Pulmonary complications of pregnancy such as asthma
- Lymphangioleiomyomastosis ( LAM) —a rare type of lung disease
Our patients have full access to the University of Michigan's cutting-edge diagnostic, therapeutic, and surgical services, not only for lung disease but also for other conditions that may be involved, such as depression or anxiety, resulting from living with chronic lung disease.
Services available at the Women's Respiratory Clinic include:
Pulmonary Function Testing: All new patients receive screenings to measure pulmonary function and blood oxygen levels. After reviewing the patient's medical history and screening tests, further studies may be ordered depending on the individual’s needs.
Physician Evaluation: A University of Michigan physician will evaluate each patient's medical history in addition to performing a complete physical examination. Patients are strongly encouraged to bring copies of any pertinent medical records, chest x-rays, and CT scans with them to their first visit in order to expedite the evaluation. Further diagnostic testing and therapies will be initiated as deemed appropriate.
Nurse Evaluation and Education Packet: Patients will receive an education session with the nurse as needed and a tailored education packet pertaining to their disease. All patients will receive individualized instruction on inhaler usage to ensure they understand how to use their medications properly.
Pulmonary Rehabilitation: This program brings together a dedicated team of experts to provide a supportive, attentive and compassionate environment using individualized treatments to help those with pulmonary disease reduce their symptoms and improve their lives. Located just across the street from our Women's Respiratory Clinic, our Pulmonary Rehabilitation facility provides therapy programs that may include an exercise regimen (strength and aerobic training), breathing training, smoking cessation, nutrition support, and/or counseling.
Coordinated Care: If needed, our staff will refer patients for other specialty services, such as:
- Tobacco Cessation consultation
- Nutrition counseling
- Women's Cardiovascular Clinic
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Osteoporosis Clinic
- Sleep Medicine Clinic
- Hypertension Clinic
- Psychiatry Clinic
Women may be referred to the Women's Respiratory Clinic by their primary care physician, or they may request an appointment on their own.
Make an Appointment
To schedule an appointment at the University of Michigan Women's Respiratory Clinic, call us at 734-647-9000.