Article by Bailey Mosier
No one really knows what causes asthma. What we do know is that it’s spreading quickly throughout the U.S.
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways that contract when they encounter an asthma trigger. The airways become inflamed, narrow, and fill with mucus, according to WebMD.
Asthma is a lifelong disease that causes wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing and can undoubtedly limit a person's quality of life.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that:
The number of people diagnosed with asthma grew by 4.3 million from 2001 to 2009.
One in 12 people (about 25 million, or 8 percent of the population) had asthma in 2009, compared with one in 14 (about 20 million, or 7 percent) in 2001.
From 2001 through 2009 asthma rates rose the most among black children, almost a 50 percent increase.
More than half (53 percent) of people with asthma had an asthma attack in 2008. More children (57 percent) than adults (51 percent) had an attack, and 185 children and 3,262 adults died from asthma in 2007.
Asthma costs in the U.S. grew from about $53 billion in 2002 to about $56 billion in 2007, about a 6 percent increase.
Experts say asthma prevention depends on health care providers and health officials educating patients about appropriate use of medications and ensuring that each patient has a written medical plan to control asthma. The CDC report found that only one-third of patients had been given a plan and only about half had been advised to make changes to eliminate asthma triggers at home, school and work.
“We don’t know exactly why the number is going up, but, importantly, we know there are measures individuals with asthma can take to control symptoms,” said Ileana Arias, principal deputy director of the CDC.