New COPD Trends Brief Underscores Critical Need for Oxygen Reform

American Lung Association releases report detailing the impact of COPD nationwide and supplemental oxygen needs for those impacted

Today, the American Lung Association released its new COPD Trends Brief, which details the impact that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has on families across the U.S. The dramatic impact of COPD underscores the need for Congress to advance the recently introduced Supplemental Oxygen Access Reform or SOAR Act, legislation that aims to ensure that everyone who needs it has access to the right type and levels of oxygen so they can live normal and active lives.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a term which refers to a large group of lung diseases characterized by obstruction of air flow that interferes with normal breathing. The COPD Trends Brief reveals the latest mortality, prevalence, risk factors, patient characteristics and burden data related to this chronic lung disease. According to the report, COPD affects 11.7 million adults and accounts for hundreds of thousands of emergency department visits and tens of billions in healthcare costs each year.

“COPD is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., and the disease impacts millions of families every day. Thanks to improvements in early diagnosis of COPD and improved treatments and care, people can live active lives with this chronic lung disease. In the U.S., more than 1.5 million people with COPD need supplemental oxygen, however, too many people face challenges in getting the right type and levels of oxygen,” said Deb Brown, Chief Mission Officer for the American Lung Association. “The Lung Association’s new COPD Trends Brief not only highlights the burden of COPD, but also shows that the disease’s death rate among women has decreased. This is fantastic news, but also reveals the critical need for access to the right type of supplemental oxygen for those who need it.”

Some notable findings of the COPD Trends Report are:

  • After remaining relatively flat for close to 20 years, the COPD death rate among women has decreased 15% since 2017.
  • The medical cost of COPD is $24 billion each year, or more than $4,300 per patient each year on average.
  • ER visits and hospitalizations for COPD both plummeted in 2020, presumably due to COVID-19 and subsequent avoidance of and limited capacity in healthcare facilities. 

Just last week on February 28, Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced the Supplemental Oxygen Access Reform or SOAR Act (S. 3821), legislation that aims to ensure that people who need supplemental oxygen, like many of those living with advanced COPD, are able to access the correct type and levels of oxygen needed for them to live a full and active life. 

View the full COPD Trends Report here, and people can learn more about oxygen reform here. 

For more information, contact:

Jill Dale
312-940-7001
[email protected]

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