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Asthma in the U.S.- Statistics & Facts

Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the airways of the lungs. Asthma can be mild or severe and is caused by genetic and environmental factors. Symptoms of asthma include shortness of breath, tightness or pain in the chest, coughing, and wheezing. In 2019, around 7.8 percent of the population of the United States currently had asthma. Asthma is more common among females and children aged 5 to 14 years.

Asthma attacks

An asthma attack is a sudden worsening of symptoms that can be caused by certain allergens, illnesses, or strenuous exercise. Early warning signs of an asthma attack include frequent coughing, easily losing breath, feeling tired, and trouble sleeping. In 2019, around 41 percent of people in the U.S. with asthma reported experiencing an asthma attack within the last 12 months. Asthma attacks are more common among children than adults with about 44 percent of children with asthma reporting one or more asthma attacks in the past 12 months as of 2019, compared to 40 percent of adults with asthma.


Medications for asthma include those that treat acute symptoms, as well as medicines which prevent further exacerbation, with some of the most common medications including fluticasone and montelukast. As asthma can be controlled, deaths from asthma are rare with it being the underlying cause of death in about one out of 100,000 population in 2020. Unsurprisngly, just as asthma rates are higher among females, rates of death from asthma are also higher among females than males. The U.S. states with the highest death rates from asthma include Mississippi, Nebraska, and Iowa.


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