New COPD State Briefs Highlight Burden by State, Opportunities to Improve

American Lung Association releases new data and steps healthcare and public health professionals can take to help improve lives of people living with COPD

Today, the American Lung Association released the COPD State Briefs, which include data about prevention, diagnosis, health outcomes and treatment of the disease for all 50 states and Washington, D.C. The briefs also highlight the burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) across the U.S., highlighting the states with the highest COPD rates and opportunities to improve the burden of the disease.

COPD, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, is a long-term lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. There is currently no cure for COPD, but the disease is treatable. Approximately 5% of adults or 12.5 million Americans are living with COPD.  COPD is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality, resulting in 536,000 hospitalizations  and 139,000 deaths.  Treatment costs an estimated $50 billion annually.  
“A COPD diagnosis can be devastating for an individual and their family to hear, but thankfully there is new research into prevention and treatment to help improve the lives of people living with this disease,” said Harold Wimmer, President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “These new state briefs highlight key indicators for COPD, such as air quality, tobacco use, education, income level and vaccination rate, which can help us determine where to focus our prevention efforts and help those most impacted by the disease.” 

Eleven states have the highest COPD rates and highest burden in the country—Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Maine, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia. State prevalence rates range from 3.7% in Hawaii to 13.6% in West Virginia.  

The goal of the COPD State Briefs is to raise awareness for COPD and empower public health and healthcare professionals to take actionable steps to prevent the onset of illness, reduce health inequities, set goals for earlier diagnosis and ensure clinical guidelines are used to manage and treat COPD, including: 

  • Use a validated COPD screening tool for people who may be at risk of COPD or reporting symptoms.
  • Confirm a COPD diagnosis using spirometry, especially in primary care.
  • Use evidence-based tobacco prevention and cessation services. 
  • Promote recommended vaccinations. 
  • Recommend pulmonary rehabilitation, COPD education and a COPD Action Plan.

The COPD State Briefs were created with support by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Learn more and view the COPD State Briefs at

For more information, contact:

Jill Dale
[email protected]

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