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Asthma and Allergic Asthma Statistics

Asthma is a chronic pulmonary condition in which the airways become blocked or narrowed when stimulated by allergens or other environmental triggers. Patients with asthma can experience difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. The most common form of the condition is allergic asthma, which can be triggered by allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, mold and cockroaches. It is important that people with allergic asthma understand the role of an antibody called immunoglobulin E, or IgE, which is a key component of the allergic inflammatory cascade that may cause allergic asthma attacks and symptoms.

Overview

  • Asthma is one of the country's most common and costly illnesses.
  • Nearly four out of five Americans (77 percent) are directly affected by asthma; half (48 percent) have asthma in their household or immediate family; another 29 percent know someone with the disease.

Prevalence

  • The prevalence of asthma has grown to approximately 20 million people in the United States.
    • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that allergic asthma affects approximately 60 percent of all asthma sufferers in the U.S.

Misconceptions

  • According to the "Real-World Evaluation of Asthma Control and Treatment" (REACT) study, more than half (55 percent) of Americans with moderate-to-severe asthma self reported they do not have their asthma symptoms under control despite the fact that most had health insurance and regular doctor visits. Furthermore:
    • Less than a third (31 percent) of asthma patients report receiving an asthma action plan from their physicians, although such plans are associated with fewer ER visits, lower hospitalization rates and improved lung function.
    • 38 percent of patients who had control of their symptoms and 54 percent of uncontrolled patients report having an asthma attack in which they feared their life.
  • According to a survey conducted by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, a majority of asthma patients believe that their asthma is under control (88 percent), although:
    • 61 percent have had to catch their breath while running upstairs;
    • 50 percent have had to stop exercising midway through their regimen; and
    • 48 percent have been woken up in the middle of the night as a result of their asthma.

Lack of Awareness About Allergic Asthma

  • A survey conducted by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America found that 81 percent of the general population, and more than half of asthma sufferers (63 percent), were unaware that the most common form of asthma is allergic asthma.
  • Only 38 percent of asthma sufferers and 27 percent of the general population consider allergens to be the most common trigger of asthma.

Impact of Poor Asthma Management: ER Visits, Hospitalizations and Deaths

  • Asthma accounts for 4,261 deaths, approximately half a million (484,000) hospitalizations, about 1.9 million emergency room visits and 12.7 million physician visits annually in the U.S. alone.
  • Everyday in America 40,000 people miss school or work due to asthma, 30,000 people have an asthma attack, and 1,000 people are admitted to the hospital.

Cost of Asthma

  • Direct health care costs for asthma in the U.S. total more than $11.5 billion annually; indirect costs (lost productivity) add another $4.6 billion, for a total of $16.1 billion. Prescription drugs represented the largest single direct medical expenditure, over $5 billion.
  • For adults, asthma results in nearly 10.1 million missed or lost workdays each year.
  • Among children ages five to 17, asthma is the leading cause of school absences from a chronic illness. It accounts for an annual loss of more than 12.8 million school days and more hospitalizations than any other childhood disease.
  • People who are not able to manage their asthma comprise the majority of asthma-associated costs, with 80 percent of asthma-associated costs driven by 20 percent of the asthma population.

Gender and Ethnic Differences

  • More females die of asthma than males, and women have an asthma death rate 45 percent higher than men.
  • African Americans are three times as likely as Caucasians to be hospitalized from asthma or die from asthma.
  • The racial differences in asthma prevalence, morbidity and mortality are highly correlated with poverty, urban air quality, indoor allergens, lack of patient education and inadequate medical care.