Results of first-ever state study of COPD released

Share this article:
Age-adjusted rates of those afflicted by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) vary considerably within the United States. The low of less than 4% was reported from residents of Washington and Minnesota; the highest prevalence of more than 9% was found in Alabama and Kentucky.

The levels are part of the newly released 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey. The National Institutes of Health's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the CDC were involved in the study.

"COPD is a tremendous public health burden and a leading cause of death. It is a health condition that needs to be urgently addressed, particularly on a local level," said Nicole Kosacz, M.P.H., an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and one of the lead analysts of the data.

COPD includes the conditions emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It is characterized by shortness of breath, chronic coughing or wheezing, or excess sputum production. Many people ignore the early symptoms and seek diagnosis and treatment in its late, harsher stages.

The BRFSS survey found that nationwide, 6% of non-institutionalized adults, or approximately 15 million people, reported having COPD, with the highest prevalence clustered around the Ohio and lower Mississippi rivers. The total is likely much higher because the study did not survey older adults in institutions such as nursing homes.

Results from the more detailed surveys included:

  • 71% percent of those reporting COPD were diagnosed via spirometry — a simple test to assess breathing
  • 62.5% felt that symptoms adversely affected their quality of life
  • 51% were taking at least one daily medication to manage their COPD, with rates of medication usage increasing with age

Almost 500,000 people participated, 39,000 of them with COPD. Click here to see the the full BRFSS COPD data.

Share this article:

More in News

Large hepatitis outbreak reaches 47 cases, podiatry company denies ManorCare's charges

The number of people infected in an infamous North Dakota Hepatitis C outbreak has risen, state health officials say.

National Quality Forum supports quality measures in bill to standardize post-acute assessments

National Quality Forum supports quality measures in bill ...

The National Quality Forum has come out in strong support of a proposed standardized quality measures, such as skin integrity, across different types of post-acute care settings. Uniform assessments are ...

CMS changes mind on hospice drugs

The Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services has revised guidance on authorization of hospice drugs for those under Medicare Advantage and Part D plans, according to a new memo.