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Asthma Rate Increases Dramatically in the US

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The number of asthma patients has risen sharply in the U.S., reveals a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 10% of children and 8% of all Americans suffer from asthma according to the researchers.

Startling Figures
The report reveals that between 2001 and 2009 asthma incidence increased in all demographics including Hispanics, blacks, whites, women and men. Black children are the most seriously affected with 17% having asthma in 2009, compared to just 11.4% in 2001.

In 2001, 20.1 million asthma cases were detected, which increased to 24.6 million in 2009, a rise of 12.3%. Poor children were the most affected with 13.5% suffering from the disease. Asthma also affected women more (9.7%) as well as poor adults of either sex (10.6%).

Asthma Costs
Asthma costs increased to around $56 billion in the year 2007, compared to around $53 billion in the year 2002. However, annual asthma deaths declined to around 3,500 in the year 2007, down from the peak of around 5,500 fatalities in 1996.

Asthma Prevention
Medical experts say to prevent escalation of asthma symptoms, patients should be educated on how to use medications appropriately and each patient should be given a specific asthma control medical plan. But, the study found that just 33% of patients were given a specific plan and only 50% were advised to make effective changes to reduce asthma triggers at work, school and home.

Causes for the Rise in Asthma Cases
Health officials are at a loss to ascertain the reason for this sharp spike, considering that important triggers such as cigarette smoking are becoming less popular. They opine that asthma patients should take corrective measures to control their symptoms. The researchers speculate that potential causes for the sharp rise in asthma cases could include diet, obesity, and exposure to certain plastics, pesticides, car exhaust fumes and various allergens. Health experts say the asthma report throws up plenty of questions which may not have straightforward answers.

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