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Who is Affected by Asthma

According to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, in 2005:1

  • More than 32 million people reported that they had at one time been diagnosed with asthma.
  • Of those who were diagnosed with asthma, more than 22 million reported that they still had it. Of these, about 6 million were children and 16 million were adults.
  • More than 12 million people reported having had an asthma attack during the previous 12 months. In other words, about 55% of the people who had asthma at the time of the survey had had an asthma attack in the previous year.

In 2004, asthma caused 1.8 million visits to the hospital emergency room for asthma. Children age 4 and younger had to go to the emergency room the most often. In 2003, about 4,000 people died of asthma.1

Recommended Related to Asthma

Asthma, Stress, and Anxiety: A Risky Cycle

You’ve been battered by a recent layoff, and high-stakes job interviews are taxing your nerves. As your financial worries mount, so do your attacks of shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing. Is there a relationship between asthma and stress?   Yes, says Peter Gergen, MD, MPH, a senior medical officer at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Although stress won’t prompt a new case of asthma, it may worsen the disease in people who already have it, Gergen says. “During periods...

Read the Asthma, Stress, and Anxiety: A Risky Cycle article > >

Although many people with asthma suffer from poorly controlled symptoms, evidence suggests that when taken correctly, currently available medicines work very well to control symptoms in the majority of people who have asthma.


  1. National Center for Health Statistics (2010). Asthma prevalence, health care use and mortality: United States, 2003-2005. Available online:

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Rohit K Katial, MD - Allergy and Immunology
Last Revised February 13, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 13, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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