Environmental Public Health Tracking: COPD Data

COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a lung disease that causes airflow blockage and breathing-related problems.

Wisconsin Tracking provides data and information on COPD.

Read the frequently asked questions below for more information about COPD.

Access the COPD data

 

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What is COPD?

COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. COPD is a group of diseases that affects a person’s breathing and makes it hard for them to get oxygen to their lungs. COPD includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. For people with COPD, the inside of their airways can become inflamed. This inflammation makes it harder to breathe, leading to shortness of breath. Although there is no cure for COPD, its symptoms can be treated.

To learn more about COPD, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) COPD webpage.

What causes COPD?

The main cause of COPD is cigarette smoking.  However, breathing in other lung irritants, such as air pollution, secondhand smoke, fumes, or dust over a long period of time can also cause it. More information about COPD is available from the CDC’s COPD webpage.

How is COPD related to the environment?

There is strong evidence linking COPD to tobacco smoke and to indoor and outdoor air pollution. Research shows a connection between air pollution and increased hospital admissions and emergency department visits for COPD.

Why does Wisconsin Tracking include COPD on its portal?

Gathering data on COPD trends allows public health professionals to identify high-risk groups and geographical areas, evaluate current prevention efforts, and plan programs and policies to reduce the burden of COPD.

With Wisconsin Tracking data, public health professionals can answer questions, such as:

  • How many emergency department visits for COPD occur each year?
  • How do hospitalizations or emergency department visits for COPD differ between counties?
  • Are there disparities in COPD hospitalizations or emergency department visits among different age groups, races, ethnicities, and genders at the state level?
  • Which populations are in greatest need of programs, policies, or other interventions to address COPD?
  • How do levels of certain environmental exposures, such as particulate matter, relate to COPD hospitalizations and emergency department visits?

What is the data source?

The source of these data is the Wisconsin Hospital Association Information Center, Inc.  To calculate rates, these data are combined with population data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Which COPD measures does Wisconsin Tracking display?

  • Annual number of hospitalizations and emergency department visits, by location
  • Monthly number of emergency department visits
  • Average daily number of hospitalizations and emergency department visits
  • Annual unadjusted (crude) rate for COPD hospitalizations and emergency department visits, by location
  • Annual age-specific rates of COPD hospitalizations and emergency department visits
  • Annual age-adjusted rate of COPD hospitalizations and emergency department visits, by gender, race, ethnicity, and location

What are some considerations for interpreting the data?

  • Because these data are based on inpatient hospitalizations and emergency department visits, some people who experience symptoms are not included. These people include those who do not receive medical care; those whose care does not result in hospitalization; and those who die in settings, such as ambulances, nursing homes, or at home.
  • These data do not include inpatient hospitalizations or emergency department visits at hospitals owned by the federal government. This includes Veterans Administration hospitals.
  • Data from the year 2000 to present include hospitalizations among Wisconsin residents who were treated in Minnesota hospitals. In addition, data from the year 2005 to present include hospitalizations among Wisconsin residents who were treated in Iowa hospitals.
  • Data from the year 2002 to present include emergency department visits among Wisconsin residents who were treated in Minnesota hospitals. In addition, data from the year 2005 to present include emergency department visits among Wisconsin residents who were treated in Iowa hospitals.
  • Data users should keep in mind that many factors contribute to a disease. These factors should be considered when interpreting the data. Factors include:
    • Demographics (e.g., race, gender, age)
    • Socioeconomic status (e.g., income level, education)
    • Geography (e.g., rural, urban)
    • Changes in the medical field (e.g., diagnosis patterns, reporting requirements, coding changes, medical advances)
    • Individual behavior (e.g., diet, smoking)

Where can I learn more about COPD?

Last Revised: September 14, 2020