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Asthma Rates Rise Dramatically - Elizabeth Morales

Asthma is a respiratory condition that causes difficulty breathing, and cases have risen sharply in the United States over the past few decades. According to the American Lung Association, 41.9 million people have received an asthma diagnosis at one point. Since 1999, the number has grown by 43%. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates about 8.4% of adults now have asthma. There is no simple explanation behind this. Theories behind asthma rates rising dramatically consist of increases in allergies and obesity. Dr Sowjanya Duthuluru, an assistant professor of pulmonary medicine at KU School of Medicine has a theory about this.

“An increase in the rates of smoking and vaping among teens and young adults,” Duthuluru said. “Asthma commonly starts in childhood, with the highest rates in the age group 5 to 17.” 

Asthma treatments have significantly improved in the last two decades. Biologic medications, along with inhalers have improved symptom management and reduced exacerbations.

From 2008 to 2013, asthma costs exceeded $81.9 billion annually due to missed work and school days. Medical expenses increased too. In 2015, medical costs for people with asthma were $3,266 higher per year compared to those without asthma. Asthma is one of the leading causes of missed school days, with more than 13.8 million absences among children aged 5 to 17 in 2013.


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