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COPD Deaths Highest in Rural, Poor Areas: CDC

FRIDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are more common in rural or poor areas, according to new research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Many factors contribute to the differences in COPD mortality, including smoking prevalence, air quality and access to health care," said study co-author James Holt, a CDC researcher. "People with COPD who live in rural or poor areas have an even greater disadvantage. COPD patients, especially those in rural and poor areas, may benefit from additional case management and risk reduction."

After analyzing U.S. Census data, the researchers identified more than 900,000 deaths from the chronic lung disease between 2000 and 2007. Of these, about 88 percent involved people older than 65; about 12 percent were 45 to 64, and 0.5 percent were younger than 45.

Large urban areas had the lowest COPD death rate, while rural areas had the highest number of deaths related to the condition, the study found.

Poverty also influenced deaths from COPD for people between ages 45 and 64, the researchers noted.

Smoking is the No. 1 risk factor for COPD, which is the third leading cause of death in the United States.

The study was scheduled for presentation this week at the annual meeting of the American College of Physicians, in Atlanta. Data and conclusions presented at meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute provides more information on COPD.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: American College of Physicians, news release, Oct. 22, 2012

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