One of the most common chronic disorders in childhood
Percent of children who currently have asthma: 9.5%
From the American Lung Association- Link
Asthma is a reversible obstructive lung disease, caused by increased reaction of the airways to various stimuli. It is a chronic inflammatory condition with acute exacerbations. Asthma can be a life-threatening disease if not properly managed.
Asthma is one of the most common chronic disorders in childhood, currently affecting an estimated 7.1 million children under 18 years; of which 4.1 million suffered from an asthma attack or episode in 2011.
An asthma episode is a series of events that results in narrowed airways. These include: swelling of the lining, tightening of the muscle, and increased secretion of mucus in the airway. The narrowed airway is responsible for the difficulty in breathing with the familiar “wheeze”.
Asthma is characterized by excessive sensitivity of the lungs to various stimuli. Triggers range from viral infections to allergies, to irritating gases and particles in the air. Each child reacts differently to the factors that may trigger asthma, including:
- respiratory infections and colds
- cigarette smoke
- allergic reactions to such allergens as pollen, mold, animal dander, feather, dust, food, and cockroaches
- indoor and outdoor air pollutants, including ozone and particle pollution
- exposure to cold air or sudden temperature change
Secondhand smoke can cause serious harm to children. An estimated 400,000 to one million children with asthma have their condition worsened by exposure to secondhand smoke.
Asthma can be a life-threatening disease if not properly managed. In 2009, 3,388 deaths were attributed to asthma. However, deaths due to asthma are rare among children. The number of deaths increases with age. In 2009, 157 children under 15 died from asthma compared to 617 adults over 85.3
Asthma is the third leading cause of hospitalization among children under the age of 15. Approximately 29 percent of all asthma hospital discharges in 2009 were in those under 15, however only 21% of the U.S. population was less than 15 years old.
In 2009, there were approximately 774,000 emergency room visits were due to asthma in those under 15.5
Current asthma prevalence in children under 18 ranges from 5.5% in Tennessee to 18.0% in the District of Columbia.
The annual direct health care cost of asthma is approximately $50.1 billion; indirect costs (e.g. lost productivity) add another $5.9 billion, for a total of $56.0 billion dollars.
Asthma is one of the leading causes of school absenteeism;8 in 2008, asthma accounted for an estimated 14.4 million lost school days in children with an asthma attack in the previous year.
Dusty The Goldfish And His Asthma Triggers (.pdf file)
Kids Fast Facts On Asthma here
Asthma US CDC Data here