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CDC: Asthma Prevalence on the Rise in United States

Prevalence of the disease increased by 12.3 percent between 2001 and 2009

TUESDAY, May 3 (HealthDay News) -- The prevalence of asthma among both adults and children has increased in the last decade, and asthma costs have increased in recent years as well, according to a report in the May 3 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The CDC reviewed asthma data from the 2001 to 2009 National Health Interview Survey, and from the 2001, 2005, and 2009 state-based Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to assess recent progress in managing asthma and reducing the disease's prevalence. Among individuals of all ages, the report revealed that the prevalence of asthma rose by 12.3 percent between 2001 and 2009, increasing from 7.3 percent (20.3 million persons) in 2001 to 8.2 percent (24.6 million persons) in 2009.

In 2009, the prevalence of asthma among children younger than 18 was 9.6 percent, with the highest prevalence among poor children (13.5 percent) and non-Hispanic black children (17 percent). The prevalence of asthma among adults was 7.7 percent in 2009, and this was greatest among women (9.7 percent) and poor adults (10.6 percent). The report also revealed that more uninsured individuals with asthma -- as compared with insured individuals -- could not afford to buy prescription medications (40.3 versus 11.5 percent). In addition, fewer uninsured individuals reported consulting with a primary-care physician (58.8 versus 85.6 percent) or specialist (19.5 versus 36.9 percent). Approximately one-third of children or adults were using long-term control medicine such as inhaled corticosteroids when surveyed. The report also notes that asthma costs grew from about $53 billion in 2002 to about $56 billion in 2007.

"The findings suggest the need for coordinated efforts at the local, state, and national levels to develop programs that empower persons with asthma to better control and manage their asthma," the authors write.

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