Asthma Rates at Record Highs
In Asthma Rates Rise Sharply in U.S., Government Says, the NY Times highlights a recently released Centers for Disease Control study that reports asthma rates in record numbers. According to the report, nearly one in 10 children and one in 12 adults has asthma.
The number of individuals suffering from asthma has risen sharply between 2001 and 2009 among all demographics studied (whites, blacks, Hispanics) and in men and women. Black children have seen the steepest increase in asthma cases with cases rising from one in nine in 2001 to nearly one in five in 2009.
Scientists from the Centers for Disease Control point out that asthma can be controlled when properly managed. But at the same time, they are at a loss to explain the cause for the increase in asthma cases, especially with the decrease in known triggers of the disease, like cigarette smoke. Principal deputy director of the CDC Ileana Arias puts it this way: "We don’t know exactly why the number is going up, but, importantly, we know there are measures individuals with asthma can take to control symptoms."
However, the NY Times points out, "Prevention depends on educating patients about appropriate use of medications and ensuring that each patient has a written medical plan to control asthma, but the report found that only one-third of patients had been given a plan and only about half had been advised to make changes to eliminate asthma triggers at home, school and work."
Research continues about what may account for this increase in asthma cases. Possible causes include exposure to allergens, traffic exhaust fumes, pesticides, and some plastics. Factors like obesity and diet are also being researched for their role in contributing to asthma.