(HealthDay News) – Deaths due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) vary widely by age, geographic location, and poverty level, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians, held from Oct 20–25 in Atlanta.

Xingyou Zhang, MD, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues conducted a study using data from the National Center for Health Statistics and U.S. Census data from 2000–2007 to identify 962,109 deaths due to COPD and evaluate the influence of county-level rural-urban status and poverty on COPD mortality.

The researchers found that 87.6% of COPD deaths occurred in those ≥65 years; 11.9% occurred in the 45–64 age group; and 0.5% in the <45 age group. Age-specific death rates per 100,000 were 21 for ages 45–64 and 291 for those aged ≥65. COPD mortality varied widely by geographic location, with the rates for those aged ≥65 years ranging from 255 per 100,000 in large central metro areas to 327 in micropolitan areas and 324 in non-core rural counties. Individuals aged 45–64 years experienced an increased death rate with increasing poverty, but this was not the case for those aged ≥65 years.

“Many factors contribute to the differences in COPD mortality, including smoking prevalence, air quality, and access to health care,” a coauthor said in a statement. “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.”

More Information