Asthma – Trends and Statistics
Asthma is a highly ranked chronic health condition in adults in most western countries, and it is the leading chronic illness of children, and asthma rates are on the increase, especially in the western world.
More people in western countries suffer from allergies, compared to people in less affluent rural parts of the world, and allergy rates are also on the increase.
In the United States, an estimated 23.2 million currently people suffer from asthma, almost 9 million of whom are under the age of 18 - that's 12 percent of children. Asthma is the leading chronic illness of children in the United States and the leading cause of school absenteeism due to chronic illness. Asthma causes almost 500,000 hospitalisations and about 5,000 deaths annually. Health care costs associated with asthma are estimated at US $14.5 billion a year. The number of deaths due to asthma, the number of Americans diagnosed with asthma, and the health care costs of asthma continue to increase each year.
In the UK, 5.2 million people have asthma. This equates to 1 in 10 children and 1 in 12 adults. Each year 1,400 people die from asthma, and over a third of these deaths are in people under 65 years of age. Each year there are 69,000 hospital admissions due to asthma, which includes about 28,500 children. Approximately 1.2 million people with asthma experience significant restrictions on their daily lives, while 250,000 people have asthma which is so severe that it cannot be controlled by inhalers or stronger medicine. Asthma treatment costs the NHS an estimated £889 million a year.
Many people with asthma do not get the right information from their doctor when their asthma is diagnosed - only 6% receive a written self-management plan that explains when to take their medication and only 3% are told when their asthma gets worse.
In a survey of 13-14 year olds in 56 countries, the UK had the fifth highest prevalence rate for asthma.
Over two million people in Australia have asthma. In Australia, asthma is a widespread chronic health problem, and one that must be taken seriously. However, in Australia the picture is different. While asthma is on the increase, asthma deaths have been steadily declining for the past decade. It is widely accepted that Australia has some of the best, and most affordable, medications available and are recognised as world leaders when it comes to asthma management, and education, largely due to the intensive work of the National Asthma Council.
Although asthma affects people of all ages, it often starts in childhood and is more common in children than adults. More boys have asthma than girls, but in adulthood, more women have asthma than men.
Although asthma is a problem among all races, blacks have more asthma attacks and are more likely than whites to be hospitalised for asthma attacks or to die from asthma.
Globally, the prevalence of asthma continues to escalate with more than 300 million people around the world suffering from asthma. In many countries the annual asthma death toll rises year in, year out.
At a Glance … Asthma – Trends and Statistics
Ø Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease that makes airways (bronchial tubes) particularly sensitive to irritants, and this is characterized by difficulty in breathing.
Ø Asthma is a highly ranked chronic health condition in adults in most western countries, and it is the leading chronic illness of children. Asthma rates are on the increase, especially in the western world.
Ø More people in western countries suffer from allergies, compared to people in less affluent rural parts of the world, and allergy rates are also on the increase.
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