Chronic obstructive airway disease is a catchall term for a variety of conditions characterized by shortness of breath and poor blood gas exchange. Data on the prevalence of these conditions and adverse consequences are used in the Health Insurance Study (HIS) to investigate the effect of different levels of insurance on health status and quality of care because of their common occurrence, positive response to treatment, and impact on well-being. This volume reviews pertinent medical literature, details the HIS definitions for three chronic obstructive airway diseases, describes HIS methods for measuring their presence and impact on people's lives, presents and discusses the enrollment data from the six HIS sites, and outlines quality of care criteria. Of the 2,639 classifiable adults over 20 years of age, 274 (10 percent) had chronic bronchitis and 48 (1.8 percent) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Of these 286, 60 percent reported worry, 42 percent pain, and 27 percent activity restrictions.
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