Asthma cases on the rise

A new report shows more people are dealing with asthma.  According to Vital Signs, a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people diagnosed with asthma in the United States grew by 4.3 million between 2001 and 2009.  Right now, doctors don’t know why the increase is happening.

“Despite the fact that outdoor air quality has improved, we’ve reduced two common asthma triggers—secondhand smoke and smoking in general—asthma is increasing,” said Paul Garbe, D.V.M., M.P.H, chief of CDC’s Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Branch. “While we don’t know the cause of the increase, our top priority is getting people to manage their symptoms better.”

The report showed more children are being diagnosed with asthma than adults. And the diagnoses were especially high among boys.

Asthma is a lifelong disease that makes it tough for a person to breathe.  An attack is usually triggered by something environmental at school, work, home or outdoors.  Tobacco smoke, mold, outdoor air pollution can all bring on an attack.  Many asthma sufferers have an inhaler to help manage their symptoms and take medication to keep their asthma under control.

“Asthma is a serious, lifelong disease that unfortunately kills thousands of people each year and adds billions to our nation’s health care costs,” said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “We have to do a better job educating people about managing their symptoms and how to correctly use medicines to control asthma so they can live longer more productive lives while saving health care costs.”

Cost of Asthma
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, annual asthma costs in the United States were $3,300 per person from 2002 to 2007.  About 2 in 5 uninsured and 1 in 9 insured people with asthma could not afford their prescription medication.

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