Asthma is a condition that makes it difficult to breathe. It usually begins with exposure to a "trigger," which is exposure to something (usually an external allergen) that causes the airways to react. During an asthma attack, the lung airways tighten and fill with fluid. The resulting effects are chest tightness, wheezing, breathlessness, and coughing. Asthma attacks can vary in severity and triggers vary person to person. There is no cure for asthma, but you can manage it through proper medication and avoiding things that trigger your asthma.
The CDC National Asthma Control Program reports that 1 in 11 children and 1 in 12 adults have asthma. In the year 2009, there were 8.9 million doctor visits, 1.9 million emergency department vists, 479,300 hospitalizations, and 3,388 deaths due to asthma. Since there is no cure for asthma, it is a health burden that stays with people for their whole lives. This translates into lifelong costs for medication and treatment. However, there are also many direct and indirect economic costs associated with asthma. The CDC reports that in 2008, there were 10.5 million days of school and 14.2 million days of work that were missed due to asthma. Overall, asthma costs $56 billion per year in the United States.
Asthma triggers can come from a variety of sources, such as outdoor allergens, chemicals used in certain occupations, vigorous exercise, or even some medical conditions. Some common triggers include
There are many factors that influence the risk of developing asthma. The CDC reports that risk is increased in the following areas:
Even though asthma has no cure, you can reduce the risk of severe complications, hospitalizations, and death due to asthma by properly taking prescribed medication and knowing your triggers. When you know your triggers, you can take preventive action to avoid them, thus, preventing asthma attacks.
Once you are diagnosed with asthma, your healthcare provider will advise you on how to properly manage it. Asthma can usually be managed in an outpatient setting, reducing the need for emergency department visits. The majority of problems associated with asthma, including emergency department visits, are preventable if asthma is managed according to established guidelines. Effective management includes control of exposures to factors that trigger exacerbations, adequate pharmacological management, continual monitoring of the disease, and patient education in asthma care.
The UEPHTN receives data regarding asthma hospitalizations and emergency department visits from the Office of Health Care Statistics in the Utah Department of Health. Asthma prevalence data comes from the Utah Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey. The BRFSS survey is conducted by the Survey Center in the Office of Public Health Assessment.
Note: The asthma data on this website only reflects severe cases. The Utah EPHT Network uses hospital data to generate data for the asthma data measures. Hospital data only includes more severe cases since the severe cases go to the hospital. The data does not account for less severe or mild asthma cases.
Asthma Emergency Department Vists