Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a respiratory disorder that causes a blockage in air flowing through the lungs, leading to breathing problems. Symptoms of COPD include frequent coughing or wheezing, excess mucus formation, shortness of breath, and difficulty taking a deep breath. These symptoms are caused by the loss of elasticity or disintegration of the airway linings (as seen in emphysema), blocked airways due to heavy mucus production, or narrowing and inflammation of the airways (as seen in chronic bronchitis).

About 297,000 people in Louisiana have COPD (National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, 2021). According to Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Surveys (BRFSS, 2021). Approximately 8.7% of adults reported being told by a health professional that they have COPD, emphysema or chronic bronchitis. Various genetic factors play a role in how likely someone is to develop COPD. Avoiding smoke and smoking, and awareness of the indoor and outdoor quality can improve health outcomes. This includes at home, in the workplace and outdoor environments where avoiding OPD symptom triggers are an important health precaution for COPD and other respiratory conditions.

Smoke and smoking are important risk factors to avoid in outdoor and indoor environments, in additional exposure to certain occupational or domestic hazards, such as chemical fumes, vapors, dusts in the workplace or from burning fossil fuels in ill-ventilated homes. Research is suggesting air pollution can induce the acute exacerbation of COPD (making symptom and management worse) and increase respiratory morbidity (illness) and morality (death) (Jiang et al, 2016). According to America’s Healthy Rankings, United Health Foundation and the CDC FastStats, Chronic Lower respiratory diseases, mainly COPD, are the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States (2021).

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Tracking COPD in Louisiana


These measures were developed following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Standards for Nationally Consistent Data and Measures (NCDMs) within the Environmental Health Tracking Network. The purpose of NCDMs is to ensure compatibility and comparability of data and measures useful for understanding the impact of our environment on our health. The LDH Tracking program collects data on the following measures for both hospitalizations and ED visits with a primary diagnosis of COPD: 

  • Age-Adjusted Rate (Per 10,000 population)
  • Crude Rate
  • Total Number


For a more detailed description of these measures, please refer to the LDH Tracking Glossary of Terms.


Data Sources


Additional Info

For more information, please visit the Health Data Explorer or email us at  


Mayo Clinic COPD    

American Lung Association, COPD