Odds are you know someone with asthma, but do you really know what that means?
According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, one in 12 people (or about 25 million, 8 % of the population) had Asthma in 2009. That’s an increase over the one in 14 who had Asthma in 2007.
And those numbers are even high when considering children with Asthma: About 1 in 10 children (10%) had Asthma in 2009.
Even higher still, in 2010 3 out of 5 had one or more asthma attacks in the previous 12 months.
So, what is it?
“Asthma is a disease that affects your lungs. It is one of the most common long-term diseases of children, but adults can have Asthma, too. Asthma causes wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing at night or early in the morning. If you have asthma, you have it all the time, but you will have asthma attacks only when something bothers your lungs,” per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
However; experts note that despite countless studies, there still is no real cause or a cure. They only point to an increased chance a child will develop Asthma, if a relative has it.
And going back to that scary statistic of 3 and 5 kids with Asthma attacks in the past 12 months, “an asthma attack may include coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, and trouble breathing. The attack happens in your body’s airways, which are the paths that carry air to your lungs. As the air moves through your lungs, the airways become smaller, like the branches of a tree are smaller than the tree trunk. During an asthma attack, the sides of the airways in your lungs swell and the airways shrink. Less air gets in and out of your lungs, and mucous that your body makes clogs up the airways even more,” according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
And they can be deadly!
• More than half (53%) of people with asthma had an asthma attack in 2008. More children (57%) than adults (51%) had an attack. 185 children and 3,262 adults died from asthma in 2007.
• Asthma was linked to 3,404 deaths in 2010
Attacks are generally caused by what the CDC refers to as ‘triggers.’ While everyone’s triggers are different some of the most common include tobacco smoke, dust mites, outdoor air pollution, cockroach allergen, pets, mold, and smoke from burning wood or grass.
Additional statistics confirm Asthma impacts 6.3 million children per year. This of course means many kinds aren’t able to participate in gym class or other activities!
So what gives?
You can control your asthma by knowing the warning signs of an asthma attack, staying away from things that cause an attack, and following your doctor’s advice. When you control your asthma:
- you won’t have symptoms such as wheezing or coughing,
- you’ll sleep better,
- you won’t miss work or school,
- you can take part in all physical activities, and
- you won’t have to go to the hospital.
So, talk (and listen) to your doctor, research (CDC, AAAAI) and just pay attention to the warning signs!