Despite the bad news on prevalence, there is some good news on asthma control, although not in this report, Edelman said.
"Over about the same period of time, deaths from asthma have dropped by about a third, and emergency room visits for asthma have declined," he noted. "Most think that this is related to more use of inhaled steroids. Sadly, the report indicates that still too few asthma patients are using inhaled steroids."
Shafazand believes dirtier air and allergens such as dust, pet dander and secondhand smoke may be driving the increase in asthma. But, she added that the best way to treat asthma is to control it.
"If you have asthma, you need to take responsibility to talk to your physician and learn what to do and [ask] 'how can I change my lifestyle to improve things?,'" Shafazand said. "In the case of children, the parents need to take that responsibility," she said.
For more information on asthma, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
SOURCES: Norman H. Edelman, M.D., professor, preventive medicine, internal medicine, physiology & biophysics, Stony Brook University, N.Y., and chief medical officer, American Lung Association; Shirin Shafazand, M.D., assistant professor, medicine, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; May 3, 2011, teleconference with: Ileana Arias, Ph.D., Principal Deputy Director, Paul Garbe, D.V.M., M.P.H, chief, Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Branch, both at U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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