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Asthma Rates on the Rise in U.S.

CDC Study Shows 24.6 Million Americans Have Asthma
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Preventing and Controlling Asthma continued...

They said symptoms can be controlled by correctly using prescribed medicines, such as inhaled corticosteroids, and recommended better education about asthma for the general public and doctors as well.

A higher percentage of children reported having asthma than adults in 2009 -- 9.6% compared to 7.7%. Also, diagnoses were especially high among boys, 11.3%.

The greatest rise in asthma rates was among African-American children, who had a 50% increase from 2001 to 2009, according to the CDC. The highest rate of asthma in 2009 was among African-American children, 17% of whom had asthma.

Annual asthma costs in the U.S. were $3,300 per person between 2002 and 2007.

About two in five uninsured and one in nine insured people with asthma could not afford their prescription medication, the CDC says.

Tips to Reduce Asthma Attacks

The CDC offers a list of recommendations to reduce asthma attacks. These include:

  • Improving indoor air quality for people with asthma through measures such as smoke-free laws and policies, healthy schools and workplaces.
  • Teaching patients how to avoid asthma triggers, such as tobacco smoke, mold, pet dander, and outdoor air pollution.
  • Encouraging doctors to prescribe inhaled corticosteroids for all patients with persistent asthma, and to use a written asthma “action plan” to teach patients how best to manage their symptoms.
  • Promoting measures that prevent asthma attacks, such as increasing access to corticosteroids and other prescribed medicines.
  • Encouraging home environmental assessments and educational sessions conducted by doctors, health educators, and other health professionals.

The prevalence of asthma increased went up significantly between 2001 and 2009 in these groups:

  • Children: from 8.7% to 9.6%
  • Adults: from 6.9% to 7.7%
  • Males: from 6.3% to 7.1%
  • Females: from 8.3% to 9.2%
  • Whites: from 7.2% to 7.8%
  • African-Americans: from 8.4% to 10.8%
  • Hispanics: from 5.8% to 6.4%.

In 2008, CDC says 52.6% of people who had asthma said they’d had an attack in the past year.

Other key findings:

  • 21.8% of people with asthma said they were in fair or poor health, compared to 9.3% who did not have asthma.
  • In 2008, almost 42% of people with asthma said they missed one or more days of school or work because of asthma in the past year.
  • People who had an asthma attack missed an average of 4.5 days of school or work per year.
  • 26% of people with asthma reported emergency department or urgent care center visits.
  • 7% were admitted to a hospital for asthma.
  • Asthma prevalence was higher in the Northeast (9.3%) and Midwest (8.8%) than in the West (7.7%) and South (7.5%).
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