The total estimated societal cost of asthma in 2007 was $56 billion (2009 dollars), including medical expenses ($50.1 billion), missed school or work days ($3.8 billion) and premature death ($2.1 billion), the report said.
The findings are based on state-by-state data gathered using the Asthma Call-back Survey, which is conducted among people with asthma identified by the CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.
"The information in this release is a stark reminder that asthma continues to be major public health concern with a large financial impact on families, the nation and our health care system," Christopher Portier, director of CDC's National Center for Environmental Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, said in an agency news release.
Individual patients, their families and doctors can help mitigate the suffering, however.
"A key component for adults and children is to create and follow an asthma action plan. Significantly, this analysis reveals that more than half of all children and more than two-thirds of all adults with asthma do not have an individualized action plan. CDC encourages those with asthma to work with their doctors to take control of this disease," Portier said.
May is National Asthma Awareness Month. Asthma is one of the most common lifelong chronic diseases. It causes repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about asthma.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCES: Jonathan Ilowite, M.D., associate chief, pulmonary and critical care division, department of medicine, Winthrop University Hospital, Mineola, N.Y.; U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, May 15, 2012
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