Health United States 2020-2021

Asthma

A chronic respiratory disease characterized by episodes of impaired breathing that may result in hospitalization and, in rare cases, death. Symptoms of an asthma attack—coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath—are caused by inflammation and narrowing of airways in the lungs. Health, United States presents estimates of current asthma and asthma attacks in children based on data from the National Health Interview Survey. Estimates of asthma attacks in the past 12 months are based on a parent or knowledgeable adult responding to the questions, “Has a doctor or other health professional ever told you that [child] had asthma?” and “During the past 12 months, has [child] had an episode of asthma or an asthma attack?” Data on asthma attacks in the past 12 months can be found in the Sample Child file from 1997 to 2019. Estimates of current asthma are based on a parent or knowledgeable adult responding to both questions, “Has a doctor or other health professional ever told you that [child] had asthma?” and “Does [child] still have asthma?” Data on current asthma diagnosis can be found in the Sample Child file from 2001 to 2019.

Page last reviewed: August 12, 2022