Topics: Chronic respiratory conditions

For more information and resources, see RHIhub’s Chronic Disease in Rural America topic guide.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation: Benefiting Rural Individuals, Benefiting Rural Population Health

McKenzie Health System pulmonary rehabilitation staff.


On the list of leading causes of death, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, impacts millions of rural Americans and their quality of life. Though limited treatments are available for COPD, research indicates that pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) provides major benefits, yet is currently under-prescribed and facing challenges from COVID-19 and from reimbursement policies. Researchers discuss the potential that tele-PR might bring to rural areas, and rural healthcare leaders highlight the benefits of their PR programs for service areas.

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June 30, 2021

Still Stealing Rural America’s Breath: An Update on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

image of trees shaped as lungs with text COPD: Still Stealing Rural America's Breath


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a condition that continues to steal rural America’s breath. Researchers, philanthropists, and healthcare professionals talk about new rural research efforts and the impact of COVID-19 on COPD. Also discussed is the importance of pulmonary rehabilitation, an impactful treatment long known to improve quality of life and now backed by new research proving it decreases death rates in select patients.

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June 16, 2021

The Alcoholic Beverage: An Elixir, and Yet a Poison?

photo of wine glasses


In addition to information from federal agencies, a Missouri cardiologist reviews the science behind what often seems to be mixed messages concerning alcohol use and its impact on health and well-being

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August 26, 2020

Diagnosing the Rural COPD Patient: Ask About Symptoms, Use Spirometry

3.5 million people living in rural counties have been diagnosed with COPD


The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute calculates that 3.5 million rural Americans have COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It’s also estimated that hundreds of thousands of rural Americans have the condition and don’t know it. Though it is a condition without a cure, it is a condition with hope. The COPD Foundation’s Chief Science Officer and a State Captain share how asking questions and doing spirometry can help diagnose the condition.

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November 20, 2019

Office-Based Spirometry: Key to Diagnosing Rural COPD Patients

graphic depicting spirometry process


Chronic obstructive lung disease, or COPD, is a disease with a stronghold in rural America: almost double the prevalence and double the mortality rates compared to large urban areas. Though it is a condition with no cure, it’s a condition that has treatments — and hope — making proper diagnosis by spirometry imperative.

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November 20, 2019

Rural Patients with Chronic Disease: A Nonprofit Organization and a Health Department Leverage Federal Funding to Provide Health Education and Care Coordination

remote patient imaging dashboard


An Alabama nonprofit organization and a North Carolina rural health district share how they leverage public funding for quality improvement and rural network development activities that provide unique patient education opportunities for chronic disease prevention and self-management.

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February 20, 2019

Bringing Change for Rural COPD Patients: Possibilities with the COPD National Action Plan

3D imagery of COPD lungs


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is number 3 on the cause of death list. In rural America, it’s the sole major chronic disease with increasing death rates. In May 2017, the COPD National Action Plan, a “blueprint for a multi-faceted, unified fight against the disease” was released. Rural stakeholders share perspectives of just how rural Americans with COPD might benefit from the plan’s rural touchpoints.

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August 9, 2017