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Women's Health USA 2013 An illustrated collection of current and historical data, published annually.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Narrative

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, is an irreversible, progressive disease that impairs breathing.1 Symptoms include coughing, phlegm production, wheezing, shortness of breath, and tightness in the chest. The leading risk factor for COPD is cigarette smoking, however other contributors include exposure to lung irritants, such as chemicals, pollution, and dust, and genetic factors.2 Chronic lower respiratory disease, which includes both COPD and asthma, was the fourth leading cause of death in 2010 among U.S. women aged 18 years and older (find out more at Leading Causes of Death).

In 2009–2011, 5.4 percent of U.S. adults reported a diagnosis of COPD (data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site). Women were more likely than men to report COPD (6.4 versus 4.3 percent, respectively). Among both men and women, COPD is more common among older age groups. For example, among women, the prevalence of COPD was highest among those aged 65–74 years (11.2 percent) and 75 years or older (10.4 percent) compared to 4.0 percent among women aged 18–44 years.

COPD prevalence also varied by race and ethnicity and poverty level. Among women, COPD was most common among non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Natives and non-Hispanic women of multiple races (8.6 and 9.9 percent, respectively), followed by non-Hispanic White women (7.0 percent), non-Hispanic Black women (6.1 percent), and Hispanic women (4.9 percent). COPD was least common among non-Hispanic Asian women (2.6 percent). With regard to income, women with household incomes less than 100 percent of poverty were more than twice as likely to report a COPD diagnosis as compared to those with incomes of 400 percent or more of poverty (10.1 versus 4.6 percent, respectively; data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site).

While there is no cure, treatment for COPD begins with smoking cessation for those who smoke.3 Additional therapies to control symptoms and slow disease progression may include medication, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation, and surgery.

1 National Institutes of Health link leaves hrsa.gov site. What is COPD? Accessed 09/20/13.

2 The Mayo Clinic link leaves hrsa.gov site. COPD: Risk Factors. Accessed 09/20/13.

3 American Lung Association link leaves hrsa.gov site. COPD: Symptoms Diagnosis and Treatment. Accessed 09/22/13.

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Graphs

Data

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease* Among Adults Aged 18 and Older, by Age and Sex, 2009–2011
Age Group Percent of Adults, Female Percent of Adults, Male
*Reported ever being diagnosed by a doctor or other health professional with emphysema or being diagnosed with chronic bronchitis in the past twelve months; total estimates are age-adjusted.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey, 2009-2011. Analysis conducted by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
18-44 Years 4.0 2.2
45-64 Years 8.2 5.3
65-74 Years 11.2 8.6
75 Years and Older 10.4 9.7
Total 6.4 4.3
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease* Among Adults Aged 18 and Older, by Race/Ethnicity** and Sex, 2009–2011
Age Group Percent of Adults, Female Percent of Adults, Male
*Reported ever being diagnosed by a doctor or other health professional with emphysema or being diagnosed with chronic bronchitis in the past twelve months; all estimates are age-adjusted.
**The sample of Non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islanders was too small to produce reliable results.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey, 2009-2011. Analysis conducted by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
Non-Hispanic White 7.0 4.6
Non-Hispanic Black 6.1 4.4
Hispanic 4.9 2.6
Non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native 8.6 Estimate does not meet the standards of reliability or precision.
Non-Hispanic Asian 2.6 2.0
Non-Hispanic Multiple Race 9.9 6.4