Asthma Rates More Than Double Over Last Two Decades
Asthma rates in the United States have more than doubled since 1980, with nearly one in 14 -- about 15 million -- adults suffering from the chronic respiratory ailment, according to a CDC survey released yesterday. In the CDC's first ever state-by-state asthma survey, the agency asked more than 180,000 randomly selected adults whether a physician had ever diagnosed them with asthma or if they currently suffer from the disease. Based on the results, CDC researchers reported that about 15 million adults currently have asthma and another six million have been diagnosed with the disease at some point in their lives. The survey found a "broad gender gap," with 9.1% of women reporting that they suffer from asthma, compared to 5.1% of men. Nevada had the highest rate of people who said they had asthma at some point in their lives (13.4%), while Maine had the highest rate of people currently living with asthma (almost 9%.). Louisiana had the lowest rates in both categories nationwide, at 3% and 5%, respectively. Despite the results, Louisiana Health Department spokesperson Bob Johannesseen, said he was "skeptical" of the numbers because they were based on patients' self-reports and not health care data. He said, "We're very pleased to see any report that ranks Louisiana at the top of a good list, but it's a condition we are very concerned about. It very well could be underreported." The AP/Bergen Record reports that the survey results did not show any "broad regional trends" that would indicate why certain regions have higher rates than others. Treating asthma cost the nation $12.7 billion annually (McClam, AP/Bergen Record, 8/17). For more information on asthma, visit the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease's recently launched Web site, Focus on Asthma, at http://www.niaid.nih.gov/spotlight/asthma01/default.htm.