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How Many People Have Asthma In The Usa

How Do Rates Of Emergency Admission To Hospital For Asthma Vary Across The Uk 200812

Asthma accounts for 60,000 hospital admissions and 200,000 bed days a year. Compared with conditions such as pneumonia and COPD, these figures are low. But like mortality rates, they are too high for such a manageable condition.

Its also worth noting that many people with asthma attend accident and emergency units without needing admission, but still adding to the burden on health services.

England: There were higher rates of emergency admission in the North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber and the West Midlands than in the UK generally. There were lower admission rates in the East of England, the South East and South West. 

Notably more males were admitted in the North East, North West, West Midlands, and London.

Scotland: The admission rate among women was higher than in the UK generally.

Wales: Admission rates were comparable to those for the UK generally.

Northern Ireland: There were lower admission rates for males and females compared with the UK generally.

Asthma hospital admission ratios, males and females, in each UK region, 200812

Relative risk of hospital admissions for asthma, by local authority district , 2010

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You can find out how these figures were calculated.

The Links Between Air Pollution And Childhood Asthma

Researchers have long linked asthma a serious and life threatening chronic respiratory disease that affects the quality of life of more than 23 million Americans with exposure to air pollution. Air pollution can make asthma symptoms worse and trigger asthma attacks. The estimated six million children in the United States with asthma are especially vulnerable to air pollution.

EPA studies the link between air pollution and asthma so that action can be taken to reduce the health burden associated with the disease. Childhood asthma research at the Agency covers a variety of topics including the impact of certain air pollutants on asthma, how exposure to air pollution may contribute to asthma, and which children may be particularly vulnerable.

Three recent studies on childrens asthma are highlighted below. 

African American Adolescents are More Vulnerable to Air Pollution Than Other Children

This study reported that low levels of outdoor ozone were associated with respiratory changes and other outcomes in African American children with difficult-to-treat asthma, even when they used asthma therapies such as inhalers to modify the adverse effects of air pollutants.

The study concluded that ozone may impact at risk populations even at low concentrations and that the impact is more widespread than just respiratory outcomes.

Exposure to Coarse Particulate Matter Linked with Asthma in Children

Air Pollution May Impact DNA Associated with Asthma

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Statistics On Asthma And Gender Reveal That 98% Of American Women Aged 18 Or Older Suffer From The Condition Compared To 54% Of American Men

Even though the health condition is more prevalent among boys than girls, adult women are more likely to have asthma than adult men, possibly due to the sex hormones on the cells of their lungs. According to experts, testosterone in men prevents the production of cells that contribute to the onset of asthma and its symptoms, such as mucus production and inflammation in the lungs.

Whats An Asthma Attack

When you breathe normally, muscles around your airways are relaxed, letting air move easily. During an asthma attack, three things can happen:

  • Bronchospasm: The muscles around the airways constrict . When they tighten, it makes the airways narrow. Air cannot flow freely through constricted airways.
  • Inflammation: The airway linings become swollen. Swollen airways dont let as much air in or out of the lungs.
  • Mucus production: During the attack, your body creates more mucus. This thick mucus clogs airways.

What Further Information Do We Need About The Burden Of Asthma

2018 Asthma Capitals Report Identifies Nations Asthma ...

Tracking the global burden of asthma dependson the acquisition of new standardised data overtime for relevant parameters including, at least,prevalence, disability and mortality. It is becomingclear that asthma is a heterogeneous disease,with diverse causes, life-courses, outcomes andoptimal treatments . In further work onthe burden of asthma, including both disabilityand premature mortality, it would be useful tolink this burden to avoidable causes and treatabletraits. This would highlight the potential value ofinterventions to prevent asthma and mitigate theconsequences of asthma with effective treatment.

Guy Marks, Neil Pearce, David Strachan, Innes Asher, Philippa Ellwood

How Asthma Attacks Happen

While most parents see asthma as a major cause of missed time from school and work, some might not realize that severe asthma attacks, which require emergency room visits and hospitalizations, can be fatal. Still, deaths due to asthma are rare.

About 10 people die from asthma each day in the United States. In 2017, the year with the most recent national data, 185 children and 3,379 adults in the United States died due to asthma, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Asthma, on rise in older adults, tends to be ignored

Asthma, a chronic disease that affects the lungs, can cause symptoms of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing at night or early in the morning. The exact cause of asthma remains unknown, but genetic, environmental and occupational factors have been linked to developing the condition.

Asthma can begin at any age, but it is estimated that most children experience their first symptom by age 5.

An asthma attack occurs when those symptoms worsen and the bodys airways shrink, making it more difficult to breathe.

Asthma is the inability to get air out due to inflammation and narrowing of your airways for important gas exchange trading carbon dioxide for oxygen that your body needs to oxygenate your body, said Dr. Purvi Parikh, an allergist and immunologist at NYU Langone Health in New York and a spokesperson for the Allergy and Asthma Network.

What Is The Impact Of Asthma On Disability And Premature Death

Burden of disease is a measure of healthloss attributable to specific diseases. The GBDstudy has used mortality statistics and healthsurvey data, where available, to estimate, formany countries of the world, two componentsof disease burden: Years of Life Lost due topremature death and Years of Life livedwith Disability . The latter quantifies boththe extent of disability and its duration. DisabilityAdjusted Life Years are the sum of YLL andYLD. The GBD study publishes new analyses everyfew years and the 2016 findings are the basis ofthe estimates cited below.

In 2016, asthma, across all ages, contributed23.7 million DALYs globally. This total burden ofdisease has remained unchanged since 1990,despite the substantial increase in worldpopulation over that time. Hence, the agestandardisedrate has decreased by 36% since1990. Globally, asthma ranked 28th among theleading causes of burden of disease and 27th inlow- and middle-income countries .

More than half of the global burdenattributable to asthma was due to 13.2 millionYLD. This represents a small increase in theage-standardised rate of YLD due to asthma since2006. In 2016, asthma ranked 16th in the leadingcauses of YLD globally.

Worldwide, there were 10.5 million YLLattributed to asthma-related premature deaths.This represents an age-standardised rate of 148·5YLL per 100,000 population, 26% lower in 2016compared to 2006. In 2016, asthma ranked 23rd and 31st among the leadingcauses of premature mortality .

Does Health Insurance Cover Asthma Treatment

Most health insurance plans provide some level of coverage for asthma patients. Check with your insurance carrier for details. Some things you may want to find out might include:

Do you need a referral to an asthma/allergy care specialist from your internist or family physician?

Does the insurance carrier offer any patient education or specialized services related to asthma?

What coverage is offered for pre-existing conditions?

What medications are not covered by your plan?

Is a flu shot covered as part of asthma care? A pneumonia vaccine?


The information provided in this fact sheet should not be a substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


Reprinted with permission from Asthma and Allergy Answers, the patient education library developed by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

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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.

+ Asthma Statistics And Facts To Know In 2021

Have you ever wanted to find out more about asthma? Most of us know it as one of the most common health conditions known to humankind, but what is asthma in medical terms? Its a health issue in which a persons airways narrow, swell, and produce excessive mucus. Due to this, the person may experience extreme difficulties with breathing. 

Furthermore, the condition may trigger wheezing, shortness of breath, and coughing, and some individuals even face life-threatening asthma attacks. So without further ado, here are the most insightful asthma statistics from the United States and the rest of the world. 

Most Recent Asthma Data

These tables feature the latest national and state statistics on the burden of asthma among children and adults. The data are from national and state surveillance systems administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Links to sources are provided with each table to assist with finding additional information on the data and relevant tables and reports.

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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

Why Is Asthma Difficult To Diagnose In Older Adults

Asthma Mortality Statistics 2018

A diagnosis of asthma may be missed in an older person because symptoms of other health conditions are similar to asthma symptoms and may mask the specific symptoms. Asthma symptoms among older adults are more likely to take the form of coughing with the production of sputum from the lungs. Your physician might interpret those symptoms as being due to other illnesses, such as chronic bronchitis or congestive heart failure.  In particular, heart disease and emphysema, much more common in older adults, especially smokers, can mimic asthma symptoms.


Good to know . . . One of the ways in which asthma is recognized among younger people is by the symptoms of wheezing and difficulty breathing following exercise. When older adults become inactive, the opportunity for asthma to present itself lessens. If you experience asthma symptoms wheezing, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, chronic cough with your regular activities such as housework, shopping, gardening, or walking, be sure to talk with your physician as soon as possible.


When the asthma symptoms are not recognized correctly, they may remain untreated, likely worsening and creating very serious health risks.


Latin And Central America

It is approximated that 40 million Latin Americans live with asthma.

In some reports, urban residency within Latin America has been found to be associated with an increased prevalence of asthma. Childhood asthma prevalence was found to be higher than 15 percent in a majority of Latin American countries. Similarly, a study published relating to asthma prevalence in Havana, Cuba estimated that approximately 9 percent of children under the age of 15 are undiagnosed for asthma, possible due to lack of resources in the region.

Does Your Standard Of Living Affect Your Chances Of Having Asthma In The Uk

In 2012 incidence rates were 36% higher in the most deprived communities than in the least deprived. Prevalence is around 11% higher. These trends are broadly consistent over time. Higher levels of damp housing and fungal spores, pollution and second-hand smoke among more deprived groups could be contributing factors. But further research is needed to fully understand this link.

Number of people per 100,000 ever diagnosed with asthma, by standard of living, 200412

Find out how the standard of living figures were calculated: Methodology – standard of living

Are There Special Considerations In Treating Asthma In Older Adults

Yes. First of all, treatment of asthma for older adults can be complicated by the fact that so many older people take multiple medications for various health conditions. Some asthma medications can react with those other treatments, causing unpleasant side effects. In addition, other medications may actually worsen asthma symptoms.

Secondly, older patients are more likely than younger patients to have mental confusion or memory problems. This may be the result of normal aging or of an illness, such as Alzheimers disease. Whatever the cause, these problems can make it difficult for certain older patients to follow treatment instructions especially if that person takes medications for a variety of health conditions.

Additionally, many asthma medications come in the form of an L-shaped metered dose inhaler which requires a certain degree of manual coordination and dexterity. Older people are more likely to have difficulty with this type of medication device, and in using it, may not receive the correct dose. Treatment with a dry powder inhaler or oral medications can help older asthma patients avoid problems with use of L-shaped inhalers.


Most Recent National Asthma Data

These tables feature the latest national and state statistics on the burden of asthma among children and adults. The data are from national and state surveillance systems administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Links to sources are provided with each table to assist with finding additional information on the data and relevant tables and reports.

National Current Asthma Prevalence

Characteristic2 Weighted Number with Current Asthma1 Percent
Below 100% of the poverty threshold 4,814,158
100% to less than 250% of the poverty threshold 7,837,412
250% to less than 450% of the poverty threshold 6,345,803
450% of poverty threshold or higher 6,138,494 5.9

Abbreviations: NH = Non-Hispanic, SE = Standard Error1Includes persons who answered “yes” to the questions: “Have you EVER been told by a doctor or other health professional that you had asthma?” and “Do you still have asthma?”2Numbers within selected characteristics may not sum to total due to rounding and varying missing values.3Poverty level is based on family income and family size using the U.S. Census Bureau’s poverty thresholds. Poverty level was calculated separately using 10 imputed income files.Source: 2019 National Health Interview Survey Data, Table 3-1 and Table 4-1 .

Current Asthma1 Prevalence by Race and Ethnicity
NationalPrevalence of Asthma Attacks1 among People with Current Asthma2 by Age
Prevalence of Asthma Attacks1 among People with Current Asthma2 by Race and Ethnicity

What Types Of Asthma Are There

Healthcare providers identify asthma as intermittent or persistent . Persistent asthma can be mild, moderate or severe. Healthcare providers base asthma severity on how often you have attacks. They also consider how well you can do things during an attack.

Asthma can be:

  • Allergic: Some peoples can cause an asthma attack. Molds, pollens and other allergens can cause an attack.
  • Non-allergic: Outside factors can cause asthma to flare up. Exercise, stress, illness and weather may cause a flare.

The Conditions Prevalence Among Kids Increased From 87% In 2001 To 94% In 2010

However, asthma among kids decreased to 8.3 in 2016. Even though some changes werent significant in the statistical sense, an interchangeable pattern was noticed among other groups, with the exception of Mexican-American and Mexican kids. In fact, the asthma prevalence among kids belonging to this demographic group increased from 5.1% to 6.5% in 2016.

Why Are Respiratory Diseases Important

Currently more than 25 million people in the United States have asthma. Approximately 14.8 million adults have been diagnosed with COPD, and approximately 12 million people have not yet been diagnosed. The burden of respiratory diseases affects individuals and their families, schools, workplaces, neighborhoods, cities, and states. Because of the cost to the health care system, the burden of respiratory diseases also falls on society; it is paid for with tax dollars, higher health insurance rates, and lost productivity. Annual health care expenditures for asthma alone are estimated at $20.7 billion.

  • People living in the northeastern United States
  • People living below the federal poverty level
  • Employees with certain exposures in the workplace

While there is currently no cure for asthma, there are diagnoses and treatment guidelines that are aimed at ensuring that all people with asthma live full and active lives.

The Economic Burden Of Asthma


Asthma is an extremely costly disease, costing the United States $81.9 billion annually

  • 61% of these costs are medical
  • 39% of costs are associated with absenteeism and mortality

The annual per-person medical costs for asthma are $3,266 annually .  These costs break down as follows:

  •  $1,830 for medications

Global Epidemiology Of Asthma

Accurately estimating the incidence and prevalence of asthma on a global scale is challenging because the diagnosis is often based on survey responses to questions about relatively non-specific symptoms which are open to subjective interpretation . A recent multicenter cohort study conducted in Canada that enrolled 701 randomly selected adults with physician-diagnosed asthma, showed that current asthma could not be confirmed in 33% of patients . Moreover, there is no universally accepted definition nor is there a single test to definitively diagnose asthma . Additionally, asthma has been increasingly recognized as a heterogeneous disease comprised of both allergic and non-allergic phenotypes, a feature not captured in prior surveys.

Despite these limitations, validated tools for asthma diagnosis are available. The International Study of Asthma and Allergy in Childhood validated questionnaire, which was used in 56 countries among children aged 6 to 14 years, is one of the frequently used tools for identifying asthma in children . Similarly, a validated instrument for adults is based on the European Community Respiratory Health Survey questionnaire . In the United States, the National Health Interview Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention routinely collects data about prevalence using self-reported symptoms using validated measures .

What Are Indoor And Outdoor Allergies

Types of indoor and outdoor allergies include sinus swelling, seasonal and returning allergies, hay fever and nasal allergies. Many people with allergies often have more than one type of allergy. The most common indoor/outdoor allergy triggers are: tree, grass and weed pollenmold sporesdust mites, , and cat, dog and rodent dander.

  • Allergic rhinitis, often called hay fever1 affects 5.2 million of the children population and 19.2 million of the adult population.2,
  • In 2018, white children were more likely to have hay fever than Black children.2
  • The same triggers for indoor/outdoor allergies also often cause eye allergies.

Why Are Asthma Rates Soaring

Researchers once blamed a cleaner world. Now they are not so sure

Asthma rates have been surging around the globe over the past three decades, and for a long time researchers thought they had a good idea of what might be fueling the increase: the world we live in is just a little too clean. According to this notionknown as the hygiene hypothesisexposure in early childhood to infectious agents programs the immune system to mount differing highly effective defenses against disease-causing viruses, bacteria and parasites. Better sanitary conditions deprive the immune system of this training, so that for reasons that are still unclear, the body pounces on harmless particlessuch as dust and ragweedas if they were deadly threats. The resulting allergic reaction leads to the classic signs of asthma: chronic inflammation or swelling of the airways and acute spasms of those passageways.

Or so the thinking went. Although a lot of data support the hygiene hypothesis for allergies, the same cannot be said for asthma. Contrary to expectations, asthma rates have skyrocketed in urban areas in the U.S. that are not particularly clean. Moreover, the big increase in asthma rates in developed countries did not kick off until the 1980swell after general sanitary conditions in the richer parts of the world had improved. And some studies are beginning to show that far from protecting children from asthma, respiratory infections in early childhood may actually be a risk factor for it.

Asthma And Allergy Triggers

As the weather gets colder and more time is spent indoors, indoor asthma and allergy triggers are of growing concern. We also know that researchers have observed, in some studies, a link of seasonal and indoor allergies to the later development of asthma, added Dr. Bassett.

Indoor and outdoor trigger include: smoke pollution and strong odors, pet dander, mold, pollen, dust mites, exercise, pests like roaches and mice, colds and flus, certain foods, and changes in the weather.

How Common Is Insect Allergy

People who have insect allergies are often allergic to bee and wasp stings and poisonous ant bites. Cockroaches and dust mites may also cause nasal or skin allergy symptoms.

  • Insect sting allergies affect 5 percent of the population.13
  • At least 90-100 deaths occur each year in the United States due to insect sting anaphylaxis.14


American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. . Allergy Facts. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. . 2018 National Health Interview Survey data. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from . Protect Yourself from Food Allergies. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Wood, R. A., Camargo, C. A., Lieberman, P., Sampson, H. A., Schwartz, L. B., Zitt, M., Collins, C., Tringale, M., Wilkinson, M., Boyle, J., & Simons, F. E. R. . Anaphylaxis in America: the prevalence and characteristics of anaphylaxis in the United States. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 133, 461467.

Jerschow, E., Lin, R. Y., Scaperotti, M. M., & McGinn, A. P. . Fatal anaphylaxis in the United States 1999-2010: temporal patterns and demographic associations. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 134, 1318-1328.e7.

Gupta, R., Holdford, D., Bilaver, L., Dyer, A., Holl, J. L., & Meltzer, D. . The Economic Impact of Childhood Food Allergy in the United States. JAMA Pediatrics, 167, 1026.

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. . Allergy Statistics..

Allergy Research

Asthma And Allergies: Whats The Connection

There has been an increased prevalence of asthma in the U.S. over the past several decades, explained allergist Clifford W. Bassett, M.D., also an ACAAI fellow. Although we may not have definitive explanations as to this increase, there are several possible theories.

These theories include the familiar hygiene hypothesis that over-sanitizing a childs environment can lead to decreased disease resistance. The rise in allergies and asthma may also be due to an increase in airborne pollens, climate changes that trigger a rise in pollen levels, the energy-proofing of indoor home and work spaces, urban air pollution, or the overuse of antibiotics.

Many experts believe environmental factors are a main contributor to asthma and allergies. Allergic asthma, the most common type, affects one in six people with asthma in the U.S. Allergic asthma is triggered by allergens like dust, pet dander, or cockroaches. Non-allergic asthma is usually caused by exercise, stress, smoke, or airway infections.

How Common Are Skin Allergies

Skin allergies include skin inflammation, eczema, hives, chronic hives and contact allergies. Plants like poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac are the most common skin allergy triggers. But skin contact with cockroaches and dust mites, certain foods or latex may also cause skin allergy symptoms.

  • In 2018, 9.2 million children had skin allergies.2
  • Children age 0-4 are most likely to have skin allergies.2
  • In 2018, Black children in the U.S. were more likely to have skin allergies than white children.2


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