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Asthma on the Rise in the U.S.
Asthma is a serious,
sometimes life-threatening respiratory disease that affects the quality of life
for millions of Americans. According to
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, asthma is a rapidly growing
public health problem. Here are some
- More than 22 million people, including 6.7 million children, have
- 12 million people report having had an asthma attack in the past
- Asthma accounts for nearly 15 million outpatient clinic visits,
nearly 2 million emergency department visits, and nearly 2000,000
hospitalizations each year.
- Asthma is the third-ranking cause of hospitalization among
children under 15.
- On average, one out of every 13 school-aged child has asthma.
- 13 million school days are missed each year due to asthma.
Asthma attacks occur when
something irritates the lungs and "triggers" an asthmatic reaction. During
an asthma attack, cells in the airways of the lungs make more mucus than normal,
which clogs the airways and causes them to become inflamed. As the muscles
around the airways tighten, it becomes hard to breathe.
Although there is no cure for
asthma yet, asthma can be controlled through medical treatment and management
of environmental triggers. An important key in managing asthma effectively is
knowing your particular “triggers.” For
example, because Americans spend up to 90% of
their time indoors, indoor allergens and irritants can play a significant
role in triggering asthma attacks. Things like mold growing on your shower
curtain or tiny dust mites that live in blankets, pillow, or your child's
stuffed animals are common triggers.
Once you know what triggers
your asthma, you can take steps to reduce exposure to triggers and decrease the
frequency and severity of your asthma attacks.
If you have asthma, talk to your doctor to set up an asthma management
plan. Together, you and your doctor can monitor your asthma, determine common
triggers and how to avoid them, and access the best medications to treat your
Lynda Metz is the Director
of Community Development at Bonner
The facts and statistics in this article were provided by the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency. For more information, please visit www.cdc.gov or www.epa.gov.