The history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) illustrates this dynamic well. The fourth most common cause of death in the United States, COPD is closely linked to cigarette smoking. Accordingly, for decades the typical COPD patient was the typical smoker: an older white man. But beginning in the sixties, as tobacco companies began targeting women, the gender gap in smoking rates began to close—and the gap in COPD rates soon followed suit. Between 1980 and 2000, women’s mortality rates from COPD tripled. Since 2000, more women than men have died from COPD each year. In a 2001 study, researchers suggested that COPD was being under-diagnosed in women due to the entrenched stereotype associated with the disease. They asked 192 primary care physicians to consider the case of a middle-aged patient, either a man or a woman, with a chronic cough and a history of smoking. On first pass, 49 percent of the women patients received a COPD diagnosis compared to 64.6 percent of the identical male patients. Once test results pointing to COPD were offered, the gender gap narrowed but still didn’t disappear completely.