US Pharm. 2013;38(7):22.
Among noninstitutionalized adults, 18.9 million (8.2%, or 1 in 12)
experienced asthma in 2009, as did 7.1 million (9.5%, or 1 in 11)
children. More than half (52.2%) of children with asthma were diagnosed
within the past 5 years. Patients with asthma more often sought
professional assistance at a physician’s office (14.2 million) than at
an emergency department (1.8 million) or hospital outpatient clinic (1.3
million). Routine visits to a physician were made by nearly
three-quarters of children with asthma (72.8%). The average length of
hospital stay for asthma treatment was 3.6 days, and asthma claimed nine
lives each day. The CDC estimated that asthma cost $56 billion per
year, and the average annual cost of care for a child with asthma was
Asthma’s Effects on Quality of Life: Each year, 1
in 2 children with asthma missed at least one day of school because of
asthma, and 1 in 3 adults missed at least one workday. Limitation of
physical activity was reported by 3 in 5 patients (both children and
adults). Children experienced more asthma attacks compared with their
adult counterparts. Difficulty affording asthma medications was a factor
for 1 in 4 black and 1 in 5 Hispanic children. Black adults were
hospitalized for asthma more often compared with white adults (28.5% vs.
Asthma Attacks: The number of patients experiencing an
asthma attack was relatively stable (varying from 3.9% to 4.3%) from
2001 to 2003, but then increased at the rate of 2.6% annually, from 11
million in 2003 to 13.9 million in 2010. Asthma attacks occurred in a
greater percentage of children (4.3 million; 5.5%) versus adults (9.6
million; 4.9%), and they were more common in females (8.5 million) than
in males (5.4 million). Non-Hispanic patients (11.9 million) had the
most asthma attacks, followed by white patients (10.4 million); Hispanic
patients (2 million) had the fewest episodes. Between 2003 and 2010,
however, white patients saw an increase in asthma attacks at a rate of
1.6% per annum.
Asthma Management: Asthma-management plans
resulted in a reduced prevalence of attacks in asthma patients, from
55.8% in 2001 to 51.9% in 2010 (at a rate of 1% per year). Among
children, a 5% decrease (from 61.7% to 58.3%) in asthma attacks was
reported during the same period. Among children who attended school or
day care, 40.4% had access to an asthma-management plan at school or day
care. Environmental changes were advised by a health care practitioner
for 42.4% of children with asthma.
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