ATLANTA, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- The prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease -- adjusted for age -- varies considerably among the U.S. states, researchers say.
Nicole Kosacz, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and one of the lead analysts, used data from last year's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey and found less than 4 percent of the population in Washington and Minnesota had COPD, while more than 9 percent in Alabama and Kentucky had the disease.
"COPD is a 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," Kosacz said in a statement. "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."
Surveys in 21 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico asked additional questions related to diagnosis and quality of life of those reporting COPD. These results found:
-- 71.4 percent of those reporting COPD were diagnosed via spirometry, a simple test to assess breathing.
-- 62.5 percent felt that symptoms adversely affected their quality of life.
-- 50.9 percent were taking at least one daily medication to manage their COPD, with rates of medication usage increasing with age.
Prevalence decreased as income increased from 9.9 percent among those making less than $25,000 a year to 2.8 percent among those making more than $75,000, 36.4 percent of those reporting COPD were former smokers and women were more likely to report COPD than men -- 6.7 percent versus 5.2 percent.