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Urban-Rural County and State Differences in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease — United States, 2015
Filetype[PDF-1.46 MB]


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  • Alternative Title:
    MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
  • Description:
    Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) accounts for the majority of deaths from chronic lower respiratory diseases, the third leading cause of death in the United States in 2015 and the fourth leading cause in 2016.* Major risk factors include tobacco exposure, occupational and environmental exposures, respiratory infections, and genetics.| State variations in COPD outcomes (1) suggest that it might be more common in states with large rural areas. To assess urban-rural variations in COPD prevalence, hospitalizations, and mortality; obtain county-level estimates; and update state-level variations in COPD measures, CDC analyzed 2015 data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), Medicare hospital records, and death certificate data from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS). Overall, 15.5 million adults aged ≥18 years (5.9% age-adjusted prevalence) reported ever receiving a diagnosis of COPD; there were approximately 335,000 Medicare hospitalizations (11.5 per 1,000 Medicare enrollees aged ≥65 years) and 150,350 deaths in which COPD was listed as the underlying cause for persons of all ages (40.3 per 100,000 population). COPD prevalence, Medicare hospitalizations, and deaths were significantly higher among persons living in rural areas than among those living in micropolitan or metropolitan areas. Among seven states in the highest quartile for all three measures, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, and West Virginia were also in the upper quartile (≥18%) for rural residents. Overcoming barriers to prevention, early diagnosis, treatment, and management of COPD with primary care provider education, Internet access, physical activity and self-management programs, and improved access to pulmonary rehabilitation and oxygen therapy are needed to improve quality of life and reduce COPD mortality.

  • Pubmed ID:
    29470455
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC5858043
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