Send to

Choose Destination
COPD. 2012 Aug;9(5):513-21. doi: 10.3109/15412555.2012.696159. Epub 2012 Jun 21.

The Disability burden of COPD.

Author information

Precision Health Economics, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


Affecting an estimated 12.6 million people and causing over 100,000 deaths per year, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacts a heavy burden on American society. Despite knowledge of the impact of COPD on morbidity, mortality, and health care costs, little is known about the association of the disease with economic outcomes such as employment and the collection of disability. We quantify the impact of COPD on Americans aged 51 and older-in particular, their employment prospects and their likelihood of collecting federal disability benefits-by conducting longitudinal regression analysis using the Health and Retirement Study. Controlling for initial health status and a variety of sociodemographic factors, we find that COPD is associated with a decrease in the likelihood of employment of 8.6 percentage points (OR = 0.58, 95% CI 0.50-0.67), from 44% to 35%. This association rivals that of stroke and is larger than those of heart disease, cancer, hypertension, and diabetes. Furthermore, COPD is associated with a 3.9 percentage point (OR 2.52, 95% CI 2.00-3.17) increase in the likelihood of collecting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), from 3.2% to 7.1%, as well as a 1.7 percentage point (OR 2.87, 95% CI 2.02-4.08) increase in the likelihood of collecting Supplemental Security Income (SSI), from 1.0% to 2.7%. The associations of COPD with SSDI and SSI are the largest of any of the conditions studied. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that COPD imposes a substantial burden on American society by inhibiting employment and creating disability.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center