Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a large group of lung diseases characterized by airflow obstruction and is often associated with symptoms related to difficulty in breathing, but can be present without any symptoms. The most important and frequent conditions in COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema, but also includes other diagnoses. Symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and wheezing.
COPD is a progressive disease, which means that it gets worse over time. COPD also has no cure. For this reason, COPD can result in major long term disability and can limit people's ability to perform routine activities. People who have COPD have a higher risk of getting respiratory infections such as a cold, pneumonia, and the flu.
Chronic lower respiratory disease, including COPD, is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Fifteen Americans have been diagnosed with COPD. Two decades ago, more than 50% of adults with poor pulmonary function were not aware that they had COPD, therefore millions more may have it.
To track COPD in California residents we display information on the number of individuals who seek COPD related medical care. In our data query, we display the number of emergency department visits and hospitalizations related to COPD. We receive this data from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, who collects this data from hospitals across California.