Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) remains a significant killer, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report, which tracks COPD statistics from 1998 to 2009, states that though the prevalence of COPD has not declined, the death rate has, but only in men.
According to the report, roughly 5% of American adults had COPD in 2007 to 2009—nearly 12 million people over the age of 18. Women account for the majority of that number, with 7.4 million cases. Additionally, COPD was found to be more prevalent in older age groups, in particular women age 65 to 74 and men age 75 to 84. In nearly every age group, women with the disease were the majority.
The study also found that COPD was more prevalent among Puerto Rican and non-Hispanic white adults than among Hispanic, black and Mexican-American adults. Less than 3% of Mexican-Americans had the disease, the lowest of any group for which estimates are available.
Income level also played a significant role in determining one’s risk for developing the disease, with 8.3% of adults with family income below the poverty line having COPD, compared to 4.3% of adults with income at least 200% of the poverty level.
“Adults with family income below the federal poverty level had the highest COPD prevalence,” the authors write. “Within each racial and ethnic group, COPD prevalence among poor adults (those with income less than 100% of the poverty level) was higher than for adults with income levels above the poverty level.”
Risk was also determined based on geographic location, with the prevalence of COPD almost twice as high in the southeastern Central U.S. (7.5%) as in the Pacific (3.9%). Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi and Alabama were found to be the states with the highest rates, while the lowest were reported in California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii.