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Statistics show that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a leading cause of death and disability in the United States. Data from a national health survey suggests that at least 24 million Americans were affected by the disease in 2000. Death and hospitalization rates for women have been increasing compared to men. However, statistics also indicate that the proportion of the U.S. population with mild or moderate COPD has declined over the past quarter-century.
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and asthmatic bronchitis, all of which obstruct airflow from the lungs. It is a leading cause of death, illness, and disability in the United States. An estimated 10 million American adults were diagnosed with the condition in 2000, but data from a national health survey suggests that as many as 24 million Americans were actually affected. In 2000, COPD caused:
- 119,000 deaths
- 726,000 hospitalizations
- 1.5 million visits to hospital emergency rooms.
From 1980 to 2000, the death rate from COPD for women rose from 20.1 deaths per 100,000 women to 56.7 deaths per 100,000 women; while for men, the rate grew from 73.0 deaths per 100,000 men to 82.6 deaths per 100,000 men.
U.S. women also had more COPD-related hospitalizations (404,000) than men (322,000) and more emergency room visits (898,000) than men (551,000) in 2000. In addition, 2000 marked the first year in which more women (59,936) than men (59,118) died from COPD.
However, the proportion of the U.S. population aged 25-54, both male and female, with mild or moderate COPD has declined over the past quarter-century, suggesting that increases in hospitalizations and deaths might not continue. These decreases most likely reflect the decrease in overall smoking rates in the United States since the 1960s.