Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease characterized by inflammation of the airways, and increased responsiveness to various stimuli commonly called asthma triggers.
Asthma episodes involve progressively worsening shortness of breath, cough, wheezing or chest tightness, or some combination of these symptoms. The severity of asthma may range from mild to life-threatening.
Americans with asthma: 20.5 million.
Children with asthma: 6.2 million children under age 18.
Asthma prevalence: approximately 6.8 percent of americans had asthma in 2002.
Asthma prevalence in pre-school children: 5.8 percent of children under age 5 had asthma in 1994.
Asthma deaths: more than 5,000 each year.
Asthma-related hospitalizations: 484,000 in 2002.
Emergency room visits for asthma: 1.9 million in 2002.
Healthcare costs for asthma care: $11.5 billion.
Missed schooldays: 14 million a year.
Loss in productivity by working parents caring for children who miss school due to asthma: an estimated $4.6 billion a year.