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Number of Americans With Asthma Keeps Rising
Date:5/3/2011

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These are the people we should be targeting with education and asthma management, Shafazand said. "But because of lack of insurance, many don't have access to medication and physicians. The message is to try to reduce this disparity."

Indeed, the per-person cost for treating asthma averaged about $3,300 per year from 2002 to 2007, but many people went without proper care. Insurance coverage mattered greatly in that respect: 2 in every 5 uninsured people with asthma were unable to afford medication to treat their condition, compared to 1 in every 9 people with insurance, the CDC said.

Right now, CDC officials say they aren't sure why asthma rates continue to surge. But in the meantime, the agency recommends these measures to stem the tide:

  • Improving indoor air quality for asthmatics through smoke-free air laws.
  • Teaching asthmatics how to avoid triggers such as tobacco smoke, mold, pet dander and air pollution.
  • Encouraging doctors to prescribe inhaled corticosteroid drugs for all chronic asthma patients and teaching patients how to manage their symptoms with an action plan.
  • Promoting ways of preventing asthma attacks, such as access to corticosteroids and other asthma drugs.
  • Encouraging doctors and others to conduct environmental assessments and asthma education sessions.

Asthma causes wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing. People with the condition can control their symptoms and prevent attacks by avoiding triggers and using medications, such as inhaled corticosteroids.

Dr. Norman H. Edelman, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association, called the new CDC data "an important report as it shows we are still far from having achieved control of the asthma epidemic in this country."

It is difficult to speculate on the cause of the continuing increase in asthma, said Edelman, who is also a professor of preventive medicine, internal medicine, physiology &
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