How Common is Asthma?
Living with asthma can be uncomfortable. But you are not alone. Many of the people you meet each day may share your problems and frustrations with asthma.
In fact, asthma is more common than you might think. In the United States alone, asthma affects almost 20 million people, and the rate of asthma has more than doubled in the last 25 years. This means that about 1 out of every 15 adults and close to 1 out of 12 children today have asthma.(1) An alarming fact is that between 1980 and 1994, asthma in children under age 5 has risen by 160%. In school-aged children, asthma has risen by 75%.(2) Asthma is the most common chronic disease among children.
Asthma in children causes over 14 million missed school days per year. Asthma is responsible for 13 million visits to the doctor per year, and asthma treatment in the U.S. costs almost $18 billion each year. Clearly, asthma is a serious disease.(3)
1 Moorman, JE et al. National Surveillance for Asthma. MMWR. 2007;56(No. SS08): 1-14; 18-54. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5608a1.htm#fig1
2 Asthma Statistics. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Accessed May 21, 2008. Available at: http://www.aaaai.org/media/resources/media_kit/asthma_statistics.stm
3 Asthma Statistics. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Accessed May 21, 2008. Available at: http://www.aaaai.org/media/resources/media_kit/asthma_statistics.stm
Written by Karen Serrano, MD
Emergency Medicine resident at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Reviewed by Lisa V. Suffian, MD
Instructor of Clinical Pediatrics in the Division of Allergy and Pulmonary Medicine at Saint Louis Children's Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine
Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, Saint Louis University
Board certified in Allergy and Immunology
Last updated June 2008