Thursday, May 5, 2011

Asthma is On the Rise

The overall prevalence of asthma increased by 12% between 2001 and 2009, according to a press report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week. Nearly one in 10 children and one in 12 U.S. adults now has asthma. The most significant rise in asthma in recent years has been among black children.

Asthma is a chronic condition characterized by periodic attacks of chest tightness, coughing, wheezing, and breathlessness. Asthma attacks seem to be triggered by respiratory environmental cues or illness, such as tobacco smoke, air pollution, mold, and colds and flu. It is not particularly deadly and there are prescription medicines available to control most of the symptoms of an attack. Nevertheless, the impact of the disease in terms of medical expenses and lost days from school and work is huge.

Scientists do not have an answer yet for why the incidence of asthma is going up so rapidly. Read more about this puzzling disease in a CDC Vitalsigns report and in the CDC press report.

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