Staggering Numbers: Do You Know the Disease?

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It’s been reported that an estimated 18.7 million adults and 6.8 million children in the United States have it. And about 14.2 million of those people visit a doctor’s office each year due to symptoms associated with it. In fact,

  • in 2010, almost 2 million emergency room visits were due to complications from it,
  • in 2010, more than 400,000 persons had to be hospitalized because of it, and
  • in 2010, an estimated 3,404 persons in the United States died due to complications from it.

Still wondering what it is?

It’s asthma. And it’s not only responsible for a staggering number of hospital visits, but it also carries a staggering price tag of $56 billion a year to treat.

How is CDC Helping Reduce These Numbers?

Not only is asthma’s impact significant, but there are sizable racial disparities associated with the respiratory disease. CDC wanted to get a better understanding of asthma’s impact so that measures could be taken to help those who have it control this respiratory disease.

But how can you control something that affects such a large number of persons? It’s possible with the help of a large network of organizations across the country.

In 1999, CDC formed the National Asthma Control Program (NACP) to help persons gain control over their asthma. The program focuses on four areas: tracking, interventions, partnerships, and evaluation.

NACP provides funding to states, cities, school programs, and non-governmental agencies to help these groups improve their asthma surveillance efforts, develop partnerships, implement interventions that have been proven to work, and evaluate the major components of the national program.

In 2013, the NACP funded 34 asthma surveillance programs in 34 states; Washington, D.C.; and Puerto Rico. This has resulted in improved asthma treatment, management, and control in the United States; improved asthma management in schools; and policies to help reduce air pollution.

CDC Provides Important Data

The 2012 Fourth Asthma Surveillance Summary is a product of the national program’s tracking efforts. The summary, which took two years for a team of CDC epidemiologists and statisticians to complete, provides updated information on self-reported asthma prevalence, self-reported asthma attacks, doctor’s office visits, outpatient and emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths.

The summary, along with previous summaries, affects those who have asthma and those who work to help them manage it.

Information in the report, including statistics, is used to plan for future CDC asthma prevention programs. The data also play a role in revisions to national asthma guidelines. The report is well needed because the NACP partners lack the necessary resources that are needed in compiling such a report.

Oftentimes, the partners don’t have in-house epidemiologist and statisticians. The report has been well received.

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Page last reviewed: May 5, 2014
Page last updated: May 5, 2014