The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Florida is a Great Place for COPD Sufferers
Because of its clean air, the COPD Digest lists Naples, FL as one of the top five places to live with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Not only that, Florida is also aware of COPD as a health issue and is taking steps to raise awareness. According to the COPD Foundation, Florida was actually the first state to add COPD to the State Health Improvement Plan in 2014. The goal of the initiative is to promote early screening and detection of COPD.
High Levels of COPD in the South
While Florida can be a great place to live for COPD sufferers, it doesn’t have the highest COPD population in the country. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the area containing the most people with COPD is the East South Central United States. From 2007-2009, the percentage of people living with COPD in that geographical area was 7.5 percent. The rest of the country was anywhere from 3.9 to 5.8 percent. Fortunately, according to Everyday Health, many states are following Florida’s lead and taking the initiative to build programs that help raise COPD awareness. Some initiatives include the Kentucky Respiratory Disease Program and North Carolina COPD Task Force.
So why do some states have higher levels of COPD among its residents? There are a few things to consider: tobacco use, occupational hazards and income level. Tobacco use is the largest cause for COPD by region. David Mannino, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Kentucky and board member of the COPD Foundation, stated, “Smoking is the number-one risk factor for COPD. If you look at a map of cigarette smoking, it will match very tightly with a map of COPD.” It’s no surprise, then, that, according to the CDC, there are more smokers in the East South Central United States. Additionally, according to a report from Tobacco Free Kids, the most tobacco farms are in the south, so it makes sense that people in those areas tend to smoke more.
Occupational hazards present another large risk factor for the development of COPD as well. Those working agriculture, mining or manufacturing jobs are more likely to be exposed to irritants that can lead to COPD. Agriculture is huge in the southern states – 30 percent of Kentucky’s economy relies on farming, and 21 percent of Alabama’s is agriculture-related.
Finally, income affects COPD levels as well. The CDC conducted a survey and found that 9.9 percent of households with incomes of $25,000 or less had a member with COPD. Comparatively, households with incomes of $75,000 or more a 2.8 percent commonality. The reason for this discrepancy is likely access to medical care – those without access are more likely to develop infection early on in the development of their disease and let it go untreated.
There is Hope for COPD Sufferers
COPD is a debilitating disease and it can sometimes seem hopeless for those who suffer from it. However, there is hope. Stem cell therapy has helped many COPD sufferers improve their quality of life. If you or a loved one is living with a chronic lung disease, you have more options than you realize. Stem cell therapy may be able to help. For more information, contact the Lung Institute at (800) 729-3065.