COPD-Related Deaths Down Markedly in Men, Less So in Women

Megan Brooks

September 08, 2016

Deaths related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have declined nearly six times more for men than for women over the past 15 years, according to new data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

From 2000 through 2014, the age-adjusted rate for COPD-related deaths decreased 22.5% for men (from 183.0 per 100,000 population in 2000 to 141.9 in 2014). In contrast, the rate declined only 3.8% for women, from 104.9 per 100,000 in 2000 to 100.9 in 2014.

The declines are consistent with declines in the prevalence of smoking for men and women in the United States, Hanyu Ni, PhD, and Jianquan Xu, MD, of the NCHS Division of Vital Statistics, report in a data brief released September 8.

The sex-specific trends in COPD-related mortality differed by race and age group.

Between 2000 and 2014, the COPD-related death rate decreased 29.7% for men aged 65 to 84 years and 22.5% for men aged 85 years and older, but increased 12.8% for younger men aged 45 to 64. During the same period, the death rate fell 16.1% for women aged 65 to 84 years but increased 24.4% for women 45 to 64 years and 6.3% for women 85 and older.

By race, the age-adjusted death rate declined 21.1% for white men but remained stable for white women. Among blacks, the death rate declined 24.3% in men and increased 4.2% in women. The death rate was higher for black men than for black women throughout the study period, although the sex gap decreased over time, the authors report.

In 2014, approximately half of all COPD-related deaths listed COPD as the underlying cause of death for both men and women. The other major underlying causes of death were heart disease and cancer, followed by diabetes, unintentional injuries, and stroke.

COPD is a major component of chronic lower respiratory disease, which has been the third leading cause of death since 2008, the authors note.

Data for the current analysis stem from the multiple cause-of-death data files from the National Vital Statistics System.

NCHS Data Brief 256. Published September 8, 2016. Full text

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