Government Agency Navigation

Asthma

Narrative

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways characterized by episodes of wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing. This disorder may be aggravated by allergens, environmental tobacco smoke and air pollution, poor housing conditions (mold, cockroaches, and dust mites), infections of the respiratory tract, and exercise.1 However, by taking certain precautions, persons with asthma may be able to effectively manage this disorder and participate in daily activities.

In 2007–2009, women were more likely to have asthma than men (9.2 versus 5.5 percent, respectively); this was true for all racial and ethnic groups. Non-Hispanic women of multiple races and non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native women were most likely to have asthma (18.1 and 16.5 percent, respectively), while Hispanic and non-Hispanic Asian women were least likely to have asthma (7.2 and 4.7 percent, respectively).

A visit to the emergency room due to an asthma attack may indicate that asthma is not being effectively controlled or treated. In 2007–2009, 23.2 percent of women with an asthma attack in the past year sought emergency care for their condition. The proportion of women suffering an asthma attack who visited the emergency room varies by income. Women with household incomes below 100 percent of poverty were most likely to have visited an emergency room (32.4 percent), compared to 18.1 percent of those with incomes of 400 percent or more of poverty.

Women with asthma can effectively manage their condition by creating an asthma management plan with their doctor and knowing about and avoiding asthma triggers.1 Consistent access to and use of medication can reduce the likelihood of an asthma attack, as well as the use of hospital and emergency care for people with asthma.2

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Asthma: Management and Treatment. Apr 2009. Accessed 02/16/11.
2 National Asthma Education and Prevention Program. Expert Panel Report 3: Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, 2007. Accessed 02/16/11.

Graphs

Data

Adults Aged 18 and Older with Asthma,* by Race/Ethnicity**and Sex, 2007–2009
Race/Ethnicity Percent of Adults
Female Male
*Reported that (1) a health professional has ever told them that they have asthma, and (2) they still have asthma. Rates reported are not age-adjusted.
**The sample of Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders was too small to produce reliable results
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey, 2007-2009. Analysis conducted by the Maternal and Child Health Information Resource Center.
Non-Hispanic White 9.5 5.9
Non-Hispanic Black 9.9 6.0
Hispanic 7.2 3.9
Non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native 16.5 3.6
Non-Hispanic Asian 4.7 3.4
Non-Hispanic Multiple Race 18.1 12.2
Total 9.2 5.5

Emergency Room Visits Among Women Suffering an Asthma Attack* in the Past Year, by Poverty Status,** 2007–2009

Percent of Women Suffering an Asthma Attack:

  • Total: 23.2
  • Less than 100% of Poverty: 32.4
  • 100-199% of Poverty:  25.0
  • 200-399% of Poverty: 20.1
  • 400% or More of Poverty: 18.1

*Reported that (1) a health professional has ever told them that they have asthma, and (2) they had an asthma attack in the past year.
**Poverty level, defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, was $21,954 for a family of four in 2009.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey, 2007-2009. Analysis conducted by the Maternal and Child Health Information Resource Center.

Share this!

Downloads