Did You Know?
Asthma: Interesting Facts

About 23 million people, including almost 7 million children, have asthma. 1 ,2

* Asthma prevalence is higher among families with lower incomes.

• 12 million people report having an asthma attack in the past year. 3

• Asthma accounts for nearly 17 million physician office and hospital visits, 4 and nearly 2

million emergency department visits each year. 3

• African Americans continue to have higher rates of asthma emergency department visits,

hospitalizations, and deaths than do Caucasians:

* The rate of emergency department visits is 350% higher. 3

* The hospitalization rate is 240% higher. 3

* The asthma death rate is 200% higher. 3

• Approximately 2 million Hispanics in the U.S. have asthma and Puerto Ricans are

disproportionately impacted:

• The rate of asthma among Puerto Ricans is 125% higher than non-Hispanic white

people and 80% higher than non-Hispanic black people. 3

• The prevalence of asthma attacks is highest among Puerto Ricans. 3

Asthma in Children:

• Asthma is one of the most common serious chronic diseases of childhood.

• Asthma is the third-ranking cause of hospitalization among children under 15. 5

• Asthma in children is the cause of seven million physician visits and nearly 200,000


• An average of one out of every 10 school-aged child has asthma. 6

• 13 million school days are missed each year due to asthma. 7

The Cost of Asthma:

• Annual expenditures for health and lost productivity due to asthma are estimated at over

$20 billion, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. 8

Asthma continues to be a serious public health problem. According to the Centers for

Disease Control and Prevention:

Asthma and the Environment

Research by EPA and others has shown that:

• Dust mites, molds, cockroaches, pet dander, and secondhand smoke trigger asthma


• Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause asthma in pre-school aged children.

• Exposure to dust mites can cause asthma.

• Ozone and particle pollution can cause asthma attacks.

* When ozone levels are high, more people with asthma have attacks that require a

doctor’s attention.

* Ozone makes people more sensitive to asthma triggers such as pet dander, pollen,

dust mites, and mold.



asthma facts

1. Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2008, Tables 3

and 4. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/sr10_242.pdf

2.Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Children: National Health Interview Survey, 2008, Table 1.


3. Akinbami L. Asthma Prevelance, Health Care Use and Mortality: United States 2003-2005.


4. National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 2006 Summary, Table 12


5. DeFrances CJ, Cullen KA, Kozak LJ. National Hospital Discharge Survey: 2005 Annual Summary

with Detailed Diagnosis and Procedure Data. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital

Health Statistics 12 (165); 2007. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_13/sr13_165.pdf.

6. American Lung Association, Epidemiology and Statistics Unit, Research and Program Services.

Trends in Asthma Morbidity and Mortality. November 2007. (ALA age group analysis of NHIS

through 2005). http://www.lungusa.org/atf/cf/%7B7a8d42c2-fcca-4604- 8ade-


7. Akinbami LJ. The State of Childhood Asthma, United States, 1980-2005, Advance Data from

Vital and Health Statistics: no 381, Revised December 29, 2006, Hyattsville, MD: National Center

for Health Statistics, 2006 (NHIS 2003 absenteeism)http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ad/ad381.pdf.

8. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Chartbook on Cardiovascular, Lung, and Blood

Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Health, 2009.


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