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August 20, 2019

Prevalence and Treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in the United States

Author Affiliations
  • 1Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania
  • 2Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, Maryland
JAMA. 2019;322(7):602. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.10241

In 2014 and 2015, more than 6% of adults aged 40 years or older reported having been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Although the prevalence of many chronic conditions has risen, the prevalence of COPD decreased from 7.2% in 2008 and 2009 to 6.4% in 2014 and 2015. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease prevalence is higher among adults with lower income, public insurance, and a history of smoking. About 15% of current smokers reported having been diagnosed with COPD in 2014 and 2015 compared with around 10% of former smokers and 3% of never smokers. Adults with COPD were also more likely to report having been diagnosed with another chronic condition compared with adults who have not been diagnosed with COPD. Notably, 64% of those with COPD reported having also been diagnosed with high cholesterol compared with about 44% of those without COPD. Among adults with COPD, use of emergency department services and spending on prescription drugs has increased, as has bronchodilator and corticosteroid use. About 33% of adults with COPD reported taking short-acting bronchodilators in 2008 and 2009 compared with nearly 39% of adults in 2014 and 2015. Meanwhile, expenditures for corticosteroids have decreased while those for bronchodilators have increased.

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Article Information

Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Analysis of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Original data available at https://meps.ahrq.gov.