APPENDIX III-L: 20 Million Americans Have Asthma.


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Asthma Statistics

  • Asthma and allergies strike 1 out of 4 Americans.1
  • Approximately 20 million Americans have asthma. 2
  • Nine million U.S. children under 18 have been diagnosed with asthma. 3
  • More than four million children have had an asthma attack in the previous year. 3
  • More than 70% of people with asthma also suffer from allergies. 4
  • 10 million Americans suffer specifically from allergic asthma.5
  • The prevalence of asthma increased 75% from 1980-1994. 6
  • Asthma rates in children under the age of five have increased more than 160% from 1980-1994. 6
  • In 2004, there were 13.6 million physician office visits and 1 million outpatient department visits due to asthma. 1
  • Asthma accounts for one-quarter of all emergency room visits in the United States each year with 2 million emergency room visits in 2001. 10
  • Approximately 44% of all asthma hospitalizations are for children. 11
  • There are approximately 5,000 deaths from asthma annually. 2
  • Direct health care costs for asthma in the United States total more than $10 billion annually; indirect costs (lost productivity) add another $8 billion for a total of $18 billion. 12
  • Prescription drugs represented the largest single direct medical expenditure, over $5 billion. 2
  • Children 5-17 years of age missed 14.7 million school days due to asthma in 2002. 8
  • Asthma accounts for approximately 24.5 million missed work days for adults annually. 2
  • The value of reduced productivity due to death represented the largest single indirect cost related to asthma, approaching $1.7 billion.2
  • Asthma prevalence is 39% higher in African Americans than in whites.2
  • The prevalence of asthma in adult females was 35% greater than the rate in males, in 2003. 2
  • Approximately 40% of children who have asthmatic parents will develop asthma.7
  • Every day in America 40,000 people miss school or work, 30,000 people have an asthma attack, 5, 000 people visit the emergency room, 1,000 people are admitted to the hospital and 11 people die due to asthma. 9

  1. CDC Fast Facts A-Z. Vital Health Statistics, 2003.
  2. American Lung Association. Epidemiology & statistics Unit, Research and Program Services. Trends in Asthma Morbidity and Mortality May 2005.
  3. Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Children: National Health Interview Survey, 2002. Series 10, Number 221.2004-1549
  4. National Library of Medicine. Understanding Allergy and Asthma. National Institutes of Health.
  5. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. Fact Sheet #9: Asthma and its Environmental Triggers: Scientists Take a Practical New Look at a Familiar Illness.
  6. Centers for Disease Control. Surveillance for Asthma - United States, 1960-1995, MMWR. 1998; 47 (SS-1).
  7. Martinez FD, Wright AL, Taussig LM, et al.: Asthma and wheezing in the first six years of life," N Engl J Med 1995; 332:133-138.
  8. National Health Interview Survey, National Center for Health Statistics, CDC.
  9. Annual U.S. Prevalence Statistics for Chronic Diseases.
  10. "New Asthma Estimates: Tracking Prevalence, Health Care and Mortality," NCHS, CDC, 2001.
  11. "National Hospital Discharge Survey," NCHS, U.S. CDC, 2000.
  12. "The Costs of Asthma," Asthma and Allergy Foundation 1992 and 1998 Study, 2000 Update.





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