ASTHMA BY THE NUMBERS:
20.3 million Americans had asthma in 2001
12 million had an asthma attack in the previous year
Someone who has a parent with asthma is 3 to 6 times more likely to develop the disease than someone whose parents do not have it
WHAT IS ASTHMA?
Asthma affects the lungs and can cause repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing.
Attack triggers: Tobacco smoke, dust mites, pets, cockroaches, mold, strenuous physical exercise, extreme weather conditions, foods, food additives and drugs.
Treatment: Quick-relief medicines such as albuterol control symptoms of an asthma attack. Long-term control treatments help reduce the incidence of asthma attacks.
HEALTH CARE ISSUES:
In 2002, asthma accounted for:
_ 12.7 million doctor visits
_ 1.2 million hospital outpatient visits
_ 1.9 million visits to emergency
_ 484,000 hospitalizations
_ 4,261 deaths
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
For further information: www.cdc.gov/asthma
(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, www.shns.com.)