Maine among highest COPD rates in the country

American Lung Association releases new data and steps healthcare and public health professionals can take to help improve the lives of people living with COPD

The American Lung Association in Maine released the COPD State Briefs, which include data about prevention, diagnosis, health outcomes and treatment of the disease for all 50 states and Washington, D.C. The briefs also highlight the burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) across the U.S., highlighting the states with the highest COPD rates and opportunities to improve the burden of the disease. Maine is one of 11 states with the highest COPD prevalence rate.

COPD, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, is a long-term lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. There is currently no cure for COPD, but the disease is treatable. Nationally, approximately 5 percent of adults or 12.5 million Americans are living with COPD. In Maine, 99,861 of adults have been diagnosed with COPD, with a prevalence rate is 9 percent.

Annual cost of COPD treatment is $154 million, there are 92,66, and 888 people die each year from COPD.

“Unfortunately, here in Maine, our residents face a higher burden of COPD, but together we can work to help prevent the disease and support people living with the disease to live longer and more active lives,” said Lance Boucher, director of advocacy for the American Lung Association. “The new COPD state briefs also examine key indicators for COPD in Maine, such as air quality, tobacco use, education, income level and vaccination rate, which can help us determine where to focus our prevention efforts and help those most impacted by the disease.”

Maine is one of ten states that have the highest COPD rates and highest burden in the country – Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia. State prevalence rates range from 3.7% in Hawaii to 13.6% in West Virginia.

The goal of the COPD State Briefs is to raise awareness for COPD and empower public health and healthcare professionals to take actionable steps to prevent the onset of illness, reduce health inequities, set goals for earlier diagnosis and ensure clinical guidelines are used to manage and treat COPD. For Maine, the Lung Association recommends the following actions to reduce the burden of COPD:

– Use a validated COPD screening tool for people who may be at risk of COPD or reporting symptoms.
– Confirm a COPD diagnosis using spirometry, especially in primary care.
– Use evidence-based tobacco prevention and cessation services.
– Promote recommended vaccinations.
– Recommend pulmonary rehabilitation, COPD education and a COPD Action Plan.

The COPD State Briefs were created with support by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Learn more and view the COPD State Briefs at


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