Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Elderly man coughing into his elbow

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.

We Track That

The Tracking Network uses data from the U.S. Census Bureauexternal icon, hospital and emergency department databases provided by state and/or local health departments, and death certificates from the National Center for Health Statistics to calculate state and local data about COPD.

Types of Data

The Tracking Network provides data about health effects due to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). These data can be used to assess the burden of COPD, monitor trends over time, identify high-risk groups, and enhance prevention, education, and evaluation efforts.

COPD Emergency Department Visits
This 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.

COPD Hospitalizations
This 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.

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

¶ These data are supplied by health departments funded by the CDC Tracking Program.
**These data are obtained from death certificate records (Mortality Multiple Cause files) from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Data Limitations
These data come from hospital records, but individuals may have COPD exacerbations due to exposure to an environmental risk factor that do not result in a hospital visit which 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.

Data Highlight
Tracking Network's Data Explorer tool: U.S. Map with layer options

Add layers to any map.
Click on the gear icon to select layers: surface smoke, current radar, transportation noise, active Atlantic cyclones. Try it!

Data in Action

Tracking COPD in a standard way over time can help us

  • assess the burden of COPD
  • examine trends over time
  • identify high-risk groups in need of targeted intervention
  • assess geographic differences; and
  • enhance prevention, education, and evaluation efforts.

Read these success stories to learn about the COPD related work happening in our funded Tracking Programs.


Learn More

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Page last reviewed: October 21, 2020