Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

At a glance

Respiratory diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are among the nation’s most common and costly chronic conditions. People with COPD are more vulnerable to the effects of air pollution, and at lower levels than people without COPD. Exposure to air pollution has been linked to increases in COPD-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations.

Elderly man coughing into his elbow

We Track That

The Tracking Network uses data from several sources to calculate state and local data about COPD. These include the U.S. Census Bureau, hospital and emergency department databases provided by state and/or local health departments, and death certificates from CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.

Types of Data

The Tracking Network provides the following COPD data.

This ED visits indicator uses data from state emergency department records and the U.S. Census Bureau. It estimates the number and rate of emergency department visits for COPD. These data can be used to identify trends and patterns of emergency department visits over time and in different geographic areas, such as states and counties.A

This hospitalizations indicator uses data collected by hospitals and estimates the number and rate of people who were admitted to the hospital due to COPD. It can be used to identify trends and patterns in COPD hospitalizations across time and space. This data may be compared with other risk factors, such as air pollution, to identify at-risk populations and environmental relationships.A

This mortality indicator uses data from death certificates to evaluate deaths that have identified COPD as an underlying cause.B

These data come from hospital records. It is important to note that individuals may have COPD exacerbations due to exposure to an environmental risk factor that do not result in a hospital visit. Those episodes are not reflected in this data. This limits the ability to compare data across states.

In addition, death investigation laws and reporting vary by place. This limits the ability to compare mortality data across locations.

Access the Data

Use the Data Explorer to create custom maps, tables, and charts.

View data in simple Quick Reports.

Get machine-readable data from the Application Program Interface (API).

Data in Action

Tracking COPD in a standard way over time can help us with the following action.

  • Assessing the burden of COPD
  • Examining trends over time
  • Identifying high-risk groups in need of targeted intervention
  • Assessing geographic differences
  • Enhancing prevention, education, and evaluation efforts
  1. These data are supplied by health departments funded by the CDC Tracking Program.
  2. These data are obtained from death certificate records (Mortality Multiple Cause files) from the National Center for Health Statistics.