CDC and NHLBI Survey on COPD identifies State-level occurrence Rates

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(Best Syndication News) - A newly released survey of COPD rates was released by US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The rates of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) were nationally estimated as well as with surveys conducted in 21 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

The surveys included information about the COPD patients’ quality of life and healthcare resources available to them. The newly released 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey was conducted using phone calls throughout the United States. The BRFSS survey contacts people randomly via landline or mobile phones.

COPD includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The symptoms of COPD include difficulty breathing. COPD may cause shortness of breath, wheezing, chronic cough, and excessive airway mucus. COPD is slow to develop and eventually becomes worst over time. The symptoms progress slowly in the beginning and the person may avoid getting treatment or diagnosis until the disease has progressed to a more serious stage.

The BRFSS survey found that state levels differed substantially. For instance, Washington and Minnesota had less than 4 percent of the population with COPD, (age adjusted), while Alabama and Kentucky a rate over 9 percent (age-adjusted population living with COPD). The states with the higher rates of COPD were generally around the Ohio and lower Mississippi rivers.

"COPD is a tremendous public health burden and a leading cause of death,” 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. “It is a health condition that needs to be urgently addressed, particularly on a local level. This first-ever state-level analysis and breakdown is a critical source of information that will allow states to focus their resources where they will have maximum impact."

The survey included questions about the quality of life and healthcare services available to COPD patients. The government agencies found that 71.4 percent with COPD were diagnosed using a spirometry test. Sixty-two percent of the COPD respondents said that their symptoms relating to the illness have negatively affected their quality of life. COPD medications were taken at least once per day by 50.9 percent of the COPD respondents. The older the respondent, the more likely they were taking medication to treat COPD symptoms.

Nationally, around 6.3% of U.S. adults - around 15 million - have been diagnosed with COPD by a medical professional. Younger adults between 18 and 44 years of age were diagnosed with COPD at a rate of 3.2 percent. Adults 65 years and older had a COPD rate of more than 11.6 percent. The rate of women with COPD was 6.7 percent. The rate for men was 5.2 percent.

The state health departments collaborated with the CDC and were co-supported by the NHLBI. The cooperative effort has helped gain insight into state-level rates for COPD. The report will be published in the November 23, 2012 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

By: Marsha Quinn
Health Reporter

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