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Asthma Control: Reducing Costs and Improving the Quality of Life

Asthma's impact on health, quality of life, and the economy is substantial, and asthma rates are increasing. Although asthma rates differ only slightly by race, severe asthma hits hardest and disproportionately among poor, minority, inner-city populations.

Currently, there is no way to prevent the initial onset of asthma, and there is no cure. However, people who have asthma can still lead quality, productive lives if they control their asthma. Asthma can be controlled by taking medication and by avoiding contact with environmental "triggers." These environmental triggers include cockroaches, dust mites, furry pets, mold, tobacco smoke, and certain chemicals.

Asthma's Impact in the United States

  • Affected 10 million adults and as many as 5 million children in 2000
  • More than 4,600 deaths in 1999
  • Between 400,000 and 500,000 hospitalized each year
  • 14 million days of school missed each year
  • About 100 million days of restricted activity each year
  • Collective cost estimated to be $12.7 billion for 1998

Data & Surveillance

Percents by Age, Sex, and Race, United States, 2012. Age: Child = 9.3%, Adult =  8.0%, Sex: Male = 7.0%, Female =  9.5%, Race/Ethnicity: White =  8.1%, Black =  11.9%, Hispanic =  7%. Source: National Health Interview Survey, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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  • Page last reviewed: April 24, 2009
  • Page last updated: April 27, 2009 The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
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