Asthma Rates Have Increased Dramatically Since 2001

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Do you have asthma? You’re not alone. New stats show that the number of people diagnosed with the condtion has increased by 4.3 million from 2001 to 2009. That’s nearly 1 in 12 people!

Asthma is a fairly common pulmonary condition that can cause wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing. Patients can control their asthma symptoms, which are usually triggered by things in the environment, through medication or by avoiding things that cause their illness to flare up, including smoking and air pollution.

According to CNN, the explanation for the growth in asthma rates is still a mystery. "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 Dr. Paul Garbe, 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."

"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, Dr.Thomas R. Frieden. "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."

The CDC has made the following suggestions in an effort to reduce the cases of asthma:

  • Pass smoke-free air laws and policies in public places, including school areas and workplaces, in order to improve indoor air quality.
  • Teach patients how to avoid substances, such as smoke, mold, pet dander, and outdoor air pollution, that can trigger their condition.
  • Encourage doctors to prescribe inhaled corticosteroids for all patients with persistent asthma and to go over asthma action plans that dictate how to manage symptoms with thier afflicted patients.
  • Encourage home environmental assessments and educational sessions conducted by clinicians, health educators, and other health professionals both within and outside of a clinical or hospital setting.

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