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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Burden in California and Southern California, 2011

November 28, 2012

Policy Note

Authors: Ying-Ying Meng, DrPH, Melissa Pickett, MPH , Marta Induni, PhD, MA, Suzanne Ryan-Ibarra, MPH, MS

This policy note represents the first time that data has been made available to describe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) prevalence, COPD health care utilization and outcomes, and characteristics of adults with COPD in the state of California, as well as the regions of Southern California and Los Angeles County. The analysis finds that COPD remains a significant health burden, affecting approximately 1.1 million or 4% of California adults. Among them, more than half live in Southern California, and nearly one-fifth of California adults with COPD reside in Los Angeles County. California's COPD profile is complex, as many Californians are under age 45, female, and have never smoked. Not all Californians with COPD are receiving appropriate care, evidenced by the finding that nearly one-third of those with diagnosed COPD were not given a breathing test (i.e. spirometry), the only approved method for diagnosing COPD. More Californians with COPD report poor overall health, poor mental health status and co-morbidities compared to those without COPD.

In order to adequately and strategically reduce the negative impact of this disease, it is important to understand the characteristics and obstacles faced by those with COPD. Early and appropriate treatment and interventions to reduce the barriers to care will be influential in diminishing the social and economic impact of COPD in California.
This research was funded by BREATHE California of Los Angeles County.

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