Experts say cigarette smoking as well as diagnosis barriers have increased women’s COPD rates.

Barbara Bush was like a growing number of women. During her final years, the former first lady reportedly had been coping with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), along with congestive heart failure.

COPD is a progressive lung disease that includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It’s the third leading cause of death in the United States, as well as a major cause of disability.

It was once known as a “man’s disease.” However, over the past 50 years, the prevalence of COPD among women in the United States has sharply increased.