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Asthma Control: Improving Quality of Life, and Reducing Deaths and Costs

Every year almost 4,000 Americans die from asthma. Asthma’s impact on health, quality of life, and the economy is substantial.

The initial onset of asthma cannot be prevented and asthma cannot be cured, but it can be controlled. People who have asthma can lead high-quality, productive lives by following a medical management plan and avoiding contact with environmental triggers.

Asthma's Impact on the U. S. Population

Asthma’s effects on the U. S. population are substantial. A 2008 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study showed 38.4 million people had been diagnosed with asthma during their lifetimes:

  • Of the 38.4 million, 23.3 million people still had asthma, and
  • Of the 38.4 million, 12.7 million people had experienced an asthma attack in the previous year.

In 2006, asthma accounted for 3,613 deaths and an estimated

  • 10.6 million doctor visits,
  • 1.1 million non-emergency hospital outpatient visits,
  • 1.6 million emergency departments visits, and
  • 440,000 hospitalizations.


CDC National Center for Health Statistics

Asthma costs the United States more than $30 billion every year. The costs include the direct expenditure of treating asthma.


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: May 24, 2010
  • Page last updated: May 24, 2010 The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
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