Who is affected by asthma

According to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, in 2005:1

  • More than 32 million people reported that they had at one time been diagnosed with asthma.
  • Of those who were diagnosed with asthma, more than 22 million reported that they still had it. Of these, about 6 million were children and 16 million were adults.
  • More than 12 million people reported having had an asthma attack during the previous 12 months. In other words, about 55% of the people who had asthma at the time of the survey had had an asthma attack in the previous year.

In 2004, asthma caused 1.8 million visits to the hospital emergency room for asthma. Children age 4 and younger had to go to the emergency room the most often. In 2003, about 4,000 people died of asthma.1

Although many people with asthma suffer from poorly controlled symptoms, evidence suggests that when taken correctly, currently available medications are very effective in controlling symptoms in the majority of people with asthma.


  1. National Center for Health Statistics (2006). Asthma prevalence, health care use and mortality: United States, 2003-2005. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/pubs/pubd/hestats/ashtma03-05/asthma03-05.htm.

Last Updated: April 21, 2009

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