Asthma Facts And Figures
Asthma causes swelling of the airways. This results in narrowing of the airways that carry air from the nose and mouth to the lungs. Allergens or irritating things entering the lungs trigger asthma symptoms. Symptoms include trouble breathing, wheezing, coughing and tightness in the chest. Asthma can be deadly.
- There is no cure for asthma, but it can be managed with proper prevention of asthma attacks and treatment.
- More Americans than ever before have asthma. It is one of this countrys most common and costly diseases.
Do Men Or Women Have Higher Rates Of Asthma
- Women are more likely to have asthma than men. 9.8 percent of women have asthma, compared to 6.1 percent of men.1
- Women are more likely to die from asthma than men.7
- Boys are more likely to have asthma than girls. 8.4 percent of boys have asthma, compared to 5.5 percent of girls.1
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. . 2019 National Health Interview Survey data. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Retrieved from:
Ferrante, G., & La Grutta, S. . The Burden of Pediatric Asthma. Frontiers in Pediatrics, 6.
Zahran, H., Bailey, C., Damon, S., Garbe, P. and Breysse, P. . Vital signs: Asthma in children United States, 20012016. .
National Center for Health Statistics. . National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey . U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from:
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. . Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project . U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from:
If Your Asthma Symptoms Are Caused By Allergies Take Steps To Control Knownor Potential Triggers In Your Environment
Allergy-proof your house for dust, mold, cockroaches, and other common indoor allergens to which you are allergic.
Reduce your outdoor activities when the pollen count or ozone level is high.
Choose foods that dont contribute to your asthma or allergy symptoms.
Evaluate your workplace for possible allergens and take the necessary steps to reduce your exposure to them.
In order to determine relevant triggers, you may want to seek consultation with an allergist who can further define these triggers.
In addition, anyone with asthma should consider getting an annual flu shot. Older adults also should talk with their internist about getting a pneumonia vaccination.
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How Many People Develop Asthma For The First Time Each Year In The Uk
Around 160,000 people a year receive an asthma diagnosis. This is more than are diagnosed with any other lung condition. However, incidence rates went down by around 10% between 2008 and 2012.
We need further research to understand why. Possible reasons include:
- Asthma is becoming less common.
- Conditions like COPD are becoming less likely to be misdiagnosed as asthma.
- Better diagnosis has reduced the backlog of cases that failed to be diagnosed in the past. Consequently, only new cases are being diagnosed.
Number of people per 100,000 newly diagnosed with asthma, each year, 200412
About Wood Smoke And Asthma
Smoke from wood-burning stoves and fireplaces contains a mixture of harmful gases and small particles. Breathing these small particles can cause asthma attacks and severe bronchitis, aggravate heart and lung disease and may increase the likelihood of respiratory illnesses. If you’re using a wood stove or fireplace and smell smoke in your home, it probably isn’t working as it should.
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Triggers For Asthma In Children
Asthma triggers are substances, conditions or activities that lead to asthma symptoms. These include :
- wheezing whistling noise when breathing
- coughing .
Your child may have all of these symptoms or just a few. Symptoms are often worse at night, in the early morning, during exercise or due to other triggers.
Treatment Of Asthma In Adults
The medications and treatments for adult asthma are:
- Anti-inflammatories inhaled corticosteroids are taken daily to prevent asthma symptoms by reducing airway sensitivity and inflammation. Steroid tablets can be taken for acute flare-ups and more severe asthma.
- Bronchodilators inhaled short-acting and long-acting bronchodilators are taken occasionally to relieve symptoms. They work within a few minutes and shouldnt be needed more than three times a week.
- Leukotriene receptor antagonists daily tablets to improve prevention if needed.
- Theophylline taken daily to prevent symptoms if they are still not well controlled.
- Monoclonal antibody therapy also called biological medicines or biologics, these injections block some of the bodys immune response to triggers.
- Bronchial thermoplasty is a surgical procedure done on the airway itself to reduce its thickness.
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How Many People Die From Asthma
- On average, ten Americans die from asthma each day. In 2019, 3,524 people died from asthma. Many of these deaths are avoidable with proper treatment and care.7
- Adults are five times more likely to die from asthma than children.7
- Women are more likely to die from asthma than men, and boys are more likely than girls.7
- Black Americans are nearly three times more likely to die from asthma than white Americans.7
Can I Avoid Triggers
It is not always possible to avoid your triggers however reducing exposure to your asthma or allergy triggers may make your symptoms easier to manage.
The first step is to know what your triggers are so you focus your efforts in the right area. Your doctor will be able to help you work this out and give you some helpful advice and tips on how to avoid your triggers.
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Can Asthma Reappear In Adults After Disappearing Years Ago
Asthma is usually diagnosed in childhood. In many patients however, the symptoms will disappear or are significantly reduced after puberty. After age 20, symptoms may begin to reappear.
Researchers have tracked this tendency for reappearing asthma and found that people with childhood asthma tend to experience reappearing symptoms through their 30s and 40s at various levels of severity.
Regardless of whether your asthma is active, you should continue to avoid your known triggers and keep your rescue medications or prescriptions up-to-date and handy in case you need them.
Breathing: Normal Airways Vs Asthma Airways
Normal: In someone with optimal lung function, air is inhaled through the nose and mouth, passing through the trachea before moving into the bronchi . The bronchi branch into smaller tubes, ending in many small sacs called alveoli. Its in the alveoli that oxygen is passed to the blood and carbon dioxide is removed.
Asthma: In someone with asthma, the airways are inflamed, and when triggered, can constrict even more, obstructing airflow to the lungs.
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How Is Asthma Different In Older Adults
Most people with asthma experience their first symptoms at a young age. But asthma can develop for anyone at any age. It is not uncommon for adults in their 70s or 80s to develop asthma symptoms for the first time. When asthma does occur at a later age, the symptoms are much like those experienced by anyone else. The most common causes of an asthma flare up are a respiratory infection or virus, exercise, allergens, and air pollution . Allergens and irritants are substances found in our everyday environment. People who have asthma may experience wheezing, cough, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.
Asthma creates a much greater risk for older adults because they are more likely to develop respiratory failure as a result of the asthma, even during mild episodes of symptoms.
Did you know . . . Older patients with mild asthma symptoms can have the same level of breathing difficulty as younger asthma patients experiencing a severe asthma episode?
Unlike asthma in younger persons, asthma in older adults rarely goes into remission. Instead, asthma is more likely to remain a potentially serious, and many times, a disabling disease.
Asthma Signs & Symptoms
People with asthma experience symptoms due to inflammation in the airways. They might only occur when you encounter an asthma trigger. Common symptoms that can lead to a diagnosis of asthma include:
- Persistent or recurring coughing: which often occurs at night or early in the morning, although it can happen at any time. Coughing is a major feature of asthma, especially in children and can sometimes be the only sign of asthma.
- Wheezing: is difficulty breathing accompanied by a whistling sound coming from your airways
- Shortness of breath: gives you the feeling that you cant get enough air into your lungs, and may even find it difficult to eat, sleep or speak
- Chest tightness: an unpleasant sensation of heaviness or pressure in the chest that can make it hard to breathe
- Increased mucus production: is characterized by high levels of thick fluid or phlegm accumulating in your airways
- Difficulty breathing while exercising: having trouble breathing while performing physical activities can be a sign of asthma
- Losing Sleep: Being unable to sleep through the night because of breathing troubles
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Does Asthma Ever Go Away
Yup! A lot of kids find their asthma goes away or becomes less serious as they get older. Some doctors think this happens because the airways grow wider as a kid grows up and gets bigger. With more room in the airways, the air has an easier time getting in and out.
Some people do have asthma as adults, but it doesnt have to slow them down. Some top athletes manage their asthma while still competing at professional and Olympic levels.
Are There Any Special Considerations For Adults Who Develop Asthma
People with multiple medical conditions need to be aware of how their illnesses and the medications they use may affect one another.
If you take more than one medication, talk with your physician about ways to simplify your medication program. Explore the possibility of combining medications or using alternate ones that will have the same desired effect. Be sure to discuss potential drug interactions with anything you take including vitamins or herbal supplements.
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About Secondhand Smoke And Asthma
Secondhand smoke is the smoke from a cigarette, cigar, or pipe, that is exhaled by a smoker. Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 substances, including several compounds that cause cancer.
Secondhand smoke can trigger asthma episodes and increase the severity of attacks. Secondhand smoke is also a risk factor for new cases of asthma in pre-school-aged children. Childrens developing bodies may make them more susceptible to the effects of secondhand smoke. Due to their small size, they breathe more rapidly than adults, thereby taking in more secondhand smoke. Children receiving high doses of secondhand smoke, such as those with smoking parents, run the greatest relative risk of experiencing damaging health effects.
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How To Reduce Your Risk Of Complications
In general, working with your doctor can help you find the appropriate treatment to control your asthma symptoms and reduce your risk for these complications. And once you find a treatment that works for you, its important to stick with it.
Most people with asthma know the importance of staying on prescribed treatment, Rosenstreich says. Because if they dont, they know theyll see an increase in their symptoms. But your doctor will remind you that symptoms are only the start. These complications are, in most cases, rare and totally avoidable simply by staying with your treatment.
If you have trouble controlling your symptoms despite following your treatment plan, you may have a more severe form of asthma. Let your doctor know about your struggles so he or she can help find a more appropriate treatment.
With additional reporting by Markham Heid.
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Asthma Emergencies In Children
Symptoms of an asthma attack can worsen and develop into an asthma emergency. To prepare for an asthma emergency, make sure your childs doctor has written an asthma action plan for your child.
Have a copy of your childs asthma action plan pinned up somewhere easy to access at home, and send a copy to anyone who cares for your child, including their school, kinder, childcare service, family members and friends. You may like to take a photo of their asthma action plan so you always have a copy with you.
Adult Vs Childhood Asthma
Its common for children to have asthma symptoms that come and go, for example triggered by allergy or a respiratory infection. Adult-onset asthma tends to have persistent symptoms that are often not associated with allergic triggers.
About one in ten adults with asthma have uncontrolled symptoms and exacerbations despite treatment. Such difficult-to-treat asthma can reduce quality of life and also lead to more deaths than we see with childhood asthma. We dont know why adult asthma doesnt respond as well to treatment as childhood asthma. It may be because adult lungs can be stiff and function less well than a childs lungs. Also the bodys immune response may change as we get older.
Its reassuring to remember that death from asthma in adulthood is still uncommon.
Adults also tend to have other illnesses that are affected by asthma and allergy medications. For example oral steroids can worsen the symptoms of glaucoma, cataracts and osteoporosis.
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Symptoms Of Asthma Emergencies In Children
The signs of an asthma emergency include when the child:
- finds it very difficult to breathe or is not breathing
- is unable to speak comfortably or complete sentences without losing breath
- has lips turn blue
- has symptoms that get worse very quickly
- has tugging in of the skin between ribs or at the base of the neck
- is getting little or no relief from their reliever inhaler, or their reliever inhaler is not available.
Should People With Asthma Get The Covid
Yes, says board-certified allergist Purvi Parikh, MD, national spokesperson for Allergy & Asthma Network. People with underlying medical conditions such as asthma can receive the COVID-19 vaccine as long as they have not had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to the vaccine or any of its ingredients.
I encourage everyone who is offered or has access to the vaccine to get it as soon as possible, Dr. Parikh says.
When you do get either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, its important to remember to schedule a time for the second dose. The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine is given 21 days after the first dose, while the second dose of the Moderna vaccine is 28 days
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How Long Asthma Lasts For
Asthma is a long-term condition for many people, particularly if it first develops when you’re an adult.
In children, it sometimes goes away or improves during the teenage years, but can come back later in life.
The symptoms can usually be controlled with treatment. Most people will have normal, active lives, although some people with more severe asthma may have ongoing problems.
Why Are More People Getting Asthma And Allergies
Some researchers put the increase in asthma and other allergic conditions over the last few decades down to the fact that we live in much cleaner, more urban conditions. This means we have less contact with the friendly bacteria that thrive in more rural, natural environments.
Along with fewer childhood infections, this has resulted in lowered immunity, and more chance of allergies, including asthma.
The ‘hygiene hypothesis’
The idea that were missing out on exposure to useful microbes early in life began to be considered a while back with a theory known as the hygiene hypothesis. This was based on evidence that children growing up in large families, in unhygienic homes, had fewer allergies, including asthma.
More recent research suggests babies exposed to friendly bacteria in the first few months of their lives are thought to have less risk of developing asthma and allergies.
This is why some studies show that children growing up on farms have fewer allergies, and other studies show that having a dog in the house when your baby is very small can protect them from allergies and asthma. The studies are based on exposure to friendly microbes in babies less than two or three months old.
But being around animals, or being in a natural environment, may not necessarily protect your child against asthma other factors need to be taken into account, such as if theres a family history of allergy and asthma.
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Side Effects Of Steroid Tablets
Oral steroids carry a risk if they are taken for more than three months or if they are taken frequently . Side effects can include:
- easy bruising
- muscle weakness
With the exception of increased appetite, which is very commonly experienced by people taking oral steroids, most of these unwanted effects are uncommon.
However, it is a good idea to keep an eye out for them regularly, especially side effects that are not immediately obvious, such as high blood pressure, thinning of the bones, diabetes and glaucoma.
You will need regular appointments to check for these.
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How Common Is Asthma In Seniors
Not everyone agrees that the incidence of asthma in older adults is rising.
This is likely not true, Dr. Sameer Mathur, an associate professor in the Division of Allergy and Immunology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, told Healthline.
It is more likely that it is now being recognized more so than in the past, especially since pulmonary and allergy/asthma physicians have been trying to get this message across, Mathur said.
We find that some patients with childhood asthma go into remission, but likely have residual lung changes, and manifest asthma symptoms when they get older, he added. There is also a group of patients that develops the onset of asthma when they are older.
Asthma is also underdiagnosed and undertreated in older adults, Mathur said, because there can be many causes for shortness of breath, including heart disease.
About 10 percent of older patients are considered to have severe asthma and have a high risk of having exacerbations that result in emergency room visits or hospitalizations, he added.
So, we suspect many physicians are focusing on other, more acutely life-threatening conditions and ignore the possibility of asthma, Mathur said.
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