What is asthma? Only the 14th most debilitating illness around the world as asthma statistics report. 

Asthma or bronchial asthma causes suffering that has unprecedented length, starting from early childhood, but also at any given age, causing difficulty while breathing and extreme coughing. More than 334 million people around the globe are affected, of which approximately 25 million are Americans. 

If you have allergies and you live in a polluted city, these numbers might, one day, directly affect you. So, make sure you know what you’re up against and take a look at the most important stats down below.

Top 10 Most Interesting Asthma Stats & Facts:

  • Respiratory allergies are the front door to asthma.
  • Asthma signs and symptoms are 3 times more severe in children living in rural areas.
  • One-quarter of adult asthmatics are smokers.
  • Around 80% of asthma patients don’t know how to use their inhalator.
  • African American women have the highest asthma mortality rate.
  • In 2016, the UK had the highest asthma-related mortality rate in the EU.
  • Middle-aged Americans suffered the most asthma attacks in 2016.
  • 87.1% of asthmatics report benefits from antifungal-treatment.
  • CBD reduces asthma-related structural changes in the lungs.
  • CBD-safe alternative for asthmatics suffering from hypertension. 

Childhood Asthma Statistics & Facts

Asthma Statistics - Kids

1. Respiratory allergies are the front door to asthma.

(Allergy UK)

If left without proper treatment and care, people that have allergy-caused rhinitis have a five times higher chance of developing asthma. This is true for both respiratory and food allergies, as long as rhinitis is part of the equation. 

Proof of the correlation between these conditions is also noticeable in seasonal asthma data, which suggest that 70–90% of asthma patients have allergic rhinitis. 

2. Children living with smokers represent 40% of asthma emergency interventions, smoking and asthma facts reveal.

(AAFA) (BMJ)

Cigarette smoke has a profoundly negative effect on this disorder. It consists of more than 7000 chemicals that we can absorb through our lungs, skin, and mouth. Many of these engage in chemical reactions with air pollutants to create super-harmful particles, especially for children.

Statistics show that individuals with a higher concentration of hair nicotine have more frequent hospitalizations and more exacerbated asthma symptoms. First-hand and second-hand smoke is also known to interfere with the medications for asthma treatment

3. Asthma signs and symptoms are 3 times more severe in children living in rural areas.

(Biomed Central)

One of the interesting facts about asthma is that, although asthma has a 20% bigger prevalence among children living in urban areas, the intensity of symptoms, especially wheezing, is 3 times worse in children in rural dwellings. 

Environmental exposure to allergens such as pollen, farm animals, cats, and dogs showed a surprisingly positive effect in rural children living in a farm, who had a lesser incidence of asthma in comparison with non-farm living rural children.

4. 4 million children develop asthma due to air pollution annually, asthma statistics worldwide suggest.

(Statista)

4 million cases of childhood asthma can be directly attributed to air pollution. Kuwait, with 550 new cases per one million population each year, was on the top of the list of selected countries in 2015. 

The US is fifth on this list, with an incidence rate of 300 cases per million population.

5. 60–70% of children asthmatics will outgrow their asthma.

(Reuters) (Medscape) (Asthma and Allergies)

This is particularly true for children that don’t have allergies or hereditary predispositions; yet, there are other risk factors that may contribute to life-long asthma, such as environmental pollution and cigarette smoke. 

Asthma statistics worldwide show that some children outgrow their asthma in their adolescence, but see it resurface once they are in their forties or older.

6. Adolescents have the lowest asthma death rate than any other age group.

(Statista)

Older age is related to a higher asthma mortality rate. Adolescents aged 15–24 have the lowest risk of asthma-related deaths. These morbid figures are higher for the younger and older. The biggest difference is seen between the death rates of adolescent girls (2.7) and older women (20) — a total difference of 17.3 per one million population as noted in asthma statistics (2016) for European countries.

7. In the US, young adults account for 10.5% of all adult asthma-related ER visits.

(Statista) (Statista)

In 2016, contrary to their death rates, young and working adult asthma patients, aged 18–24 were the most frequent visitors of emergency rooms followed by those aged 25–44. Among them, the healthcare and social assistance sector had the highest prevalence (8.8%). 

8. Around 80% of asthma patients don’t know how to use their inhalator, asthma statistics worldwide (2018) reveal.

(GINAsthma)

The majority of asthma patients have difficulty when it comes to using their inhalator, which is precisely the reason why GINA issued a special schedule, by which asthma patients need to be surveilled. Another astonishing fact is that 50% of asthma patients don’t follow the exact indicated methods of use for their treatment.

Asthma Prevalence in Adults (Stats & Facts)

Asthma Statistics - Adults

9. African-American women have the highest asthma mortality rate.

 (AsthmaMD) (NCBI)

The asthma mortality rate is 3 times bigger in African-Americans than Caucasians. Of all adult ethnicity and gender groups, the highest asthma mortality rate is present in African-American women — 2.5 times higher than Caucasian women. 

It is estimated that some of the reasons behind this racial disparity are the greater exposure to pollutants, infections, and allergens, as well as the inaccessibility of care, as asthma statistics by race indicate.

10. One-quarter of asthmatic adults are, in fact, smokers.

(Frontiers) (NCBI)

Believe it or not, but people with asthma are more likely to engage in smoking, especially adolescents. 

Asthmatics who smoke are more likely to develop severe asthma types that are corticosteroid-resistant (to a certain degree) and will probably require increased doses of corticosteroids to control it.

11. 65% of adult asthmatics are women and sex hormones are to blame for it,  asthma statistics (2018) reveal.

(NCBI)

There are gender disparities in asthma that are inverse in pediatrics and adult asthma patients. Boys are more likely to have childhood asthma until the age of 14, at which point, girls and women take the lead. 

Animal studies show that female sex hormones exacerbate respiratory inflammation in contrast to male sex hormones which attenuate this inflammation.

12. Middle-aged Americans suffered the most asthma attacks in 2016, according to CDC asthma statistics.

(Statista)

Following the most recent stats, 7.9% of Americans have asthma. Statistical research for the period 2011–2016 shows that, of all age groups, those aged 45–64 had the biggest incidence of experienced asthma attacks (47.4%).

13. In 2016, the UK had the highest asthma mortality rate in the EU.

(Statista) (PSNC UK)

In 2016, the UK had the highest mortality rate from asthma in all age groups, but especially in young people. That year, the overall asthma mortality rate in the UK was estimated at 50% higher than the average death rate in the EU as per asthma statistics 2018

The UK reported an increase of 20% of the deadly asthma attack rate in the last 5 years. Data also shows that more than half of people with asthma did not seek or receive medical treatment for it, but these figures are decreasing.

14. With an asthma-related death rate of 18.2, New Mexico is on the top in the US.

(Statista)

Asthma statistics 2017 point to New Mexico as the state with the highest asthma death rate in the US, followed by Mississippi, Idaho, and Alabama. The lowest death rate related to asthma was observed in Kansas — 12.2 per million population.

15. How many New Yorkers suffer from asthma? About 10%.

(CDC) (NYC.gov)

10% of the adult population and 8.5% of children living in New York City had asthma in 2015. The highest hospitalization rate and prevalence was noted in Hispanic and Black residents of Mott Haven and Melrose in the South Bronx, as indicated in the CDC asthma prevalence statistics.

Asthma Treatment Stats & Facts

Asthma Statistics - Treatment

16. Approximately $56 billion per year are spent on direct and indirect asthma healthcare costs in the US.

(Lung.org)

A big part of the total expenditure sum is attributed to the direct asthma costs, estimated at $50.1 billion. 

The indirect healthcare costs, in terms of lost work hours, are estimated at an additional $5.9 billion. In school-aged children, asthma accounted for more than 13.8 million lost school days in 2016. 

17. Medicare members spend $140 per year on traditional asthma therapy, according to asthma statistics in the US.

(Statista) (Statista)

Medicare members are turning to traditional therapy when it comes to asthma. Asthma is the top sixth condition on a national level that made Americans spend on alternative treatment in 2016. 

The total annual out-of-pocket expenditure per patient on the most common asthma medication was estimated at $350.

18. 8–20% of asthmatics experience painkiller — induced asthma attack.

(Med Safe)

For some asthmatics, the usage of anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen can put them at risk of fatal bronchospasm — reaction commonly known as aspirin-induced asthma. 

Asthma facts state that this hypersensitivity is more frequent in those aged 30–40 and that have nasal polyps, sinusitis, and chronic rhinitis.

19. Hypertension treatment in asthma patients is incredibly tricky.

(UpToDate)

Two of the most common medications that treat chronic high blood pressure are known to cause adverse reactions in asthmatics. Beta-blockers can narrow the bronchium, causing difficulty in breathing, but first and foremost, they decrease the effectiveness of asthma medications called beta-agonists.

Furthermore, ACE inhibitors, also commonly used as a medication for hypertension, can cause a violent cough in 20% of asthmatics, thus adding to disturbing facts about asthma.

20. 87.1% of asthmatics reported benefits of antifungal-treatment.

(AAAAI)

The excess mucus produced in asthmatics is a perfect environment for the propagation of fungi. In return, they produce toxins that flare up inflammation in the lungs and disrupt the immune reaction. Hence, hypersensitivity to common fungal agents is a big risk factor in asthmatic patients.

A 2016 study found that asthmatics can benefit from antifungal therapy regardless of their sensitivity or allergies to fungi. This therapy relieved cough and difficulty breathing in most of the patients.

21. Beta-agonists are no longer considered safe for asthmatics, as asthma statistics worldwide (2019) suggest.

(GINAsthma)

The collected data brought an important change in the asthma treatment recommendations issued by GINA. The sole use of the so-called short-term beta-agonists for acute asthmatic episodes is no longer recommended due to the adverse effect they have on the long run.

Research shows that these medications augment the risk of developing an allergic reaction and inflammation in the lower respiratory airways if they are not taken in combination with corticosteroids.

22. According to GKS asthma statistics 2019, 13 new GKS medications will be destined for asthmatics.

(PhRMA)

The latest statistics concerning medication in development shows 13 new medications being designed. Those that are in Phase III of development are destined to treat asthma. Another 5 which are also in the final stage of development will be treating the allergies that are directly linked to the development of asthma.

Statistics on Asthma and Cannabis

Asthma Statistics - Cannabis

23. Smoke residues from marijuana aggravate asthma symptoms.

(NCBI)

Although cannabinoids have therapeutic effectsin asthma patients, asthma and smoking weed is not the best combination. When it comes to vaping vs smoking cannabis, vaping is better as there are no harmful combustion derivatives released by smoking. It is recommended for asthmatics to use edibles, oils, and vape rather than smoke cannabis. 

Nevertheless, with the onset of EVALI (E-cigarette/Vaping Associated Lung Injury) at the moment, it’s better to steer clear of vaping until it is fully confirmed Vitamin E was causing issues.

24. THC can diminish airway inflammation, cough, and airway hyper-responsiveness, according to recent asthma facts.

(NCBI)

A 2015 study showed that THC influences the release of acetylcholine — the main excitatory neurotransmitter that induced contraction and bronchoconstriction in an animal study. THC demonstrated a calming influence on airway hyper-responsiveness and anti-inflammatory activity in the said airways. 

25. Asthma patients may not develop clinical tolerance to THC in treating asthma.

(NCBI)

According to small research on asthma stats about dose-response and the potential development of tolerance, patients don’t develop clinical tolerance to the THC’s bronchodilatory activity. Meaning, a future per-oral treatment based on cannabinoids could be administered without the need for an increase in dose over the years in order to reach the same bronchodilatory effect.

26. A single dose of vaporized cannabis has no effect on breathing, according to a 2018 study.

(NCBI)

Smoking and asthma facts were examined on 16 participants. Show that inhaling a single-dose of vaporized cannabis has no relevant medical effects (either positive or negative) on airway function, exercise endurance, and exertional breathlessness in adults with advanced asthma and COPD.

27. CBD has similar effects to dexamethasone.

(NCBI)

CBD regulates the basal pro-inflammatory response of the body, by diminishing the production of cytokines and the activity in monocytes. This effect is similar to that of dexamethasone. This way, CBD acts as an anti-inflammatory agent in pro-inflammatory conditions. 

However, CBD drug interactions show that CBD has antagonist interaction with steroids, inhibiting their anti-inflammatory potential when used in combination.

28. Statistics of asthma pathogenesis show CBD reduces asthma-related structural changes in the lungs.

(NCBI) (ATSJournals)

Chronic lung tissue inflammation leads to airway remodeling of this organ. This involves the thickening of the airway walls, the development of bronchial hyper-responsiveness, edema, and abnormal mucous secretion.

In a recent animal study, CBD treatment was found to increase lung elastance when administered in small doses. Also, regardless of dosage, CBD treatment decreased airway hyper-responsiveness and the collagen fiber content in both airway and alveolar septa. 

These outcomes were conclusive enough to confirm that CBD treatment decreased the inflammatory and remodeling processes in the model of allergic asthma.

29. Aerosolized THC can cause bronchodilation, but also irritation.

(NCBI)

Some facts about asthma and THC were tested in 1997. Aerosolized THC had been tested in healthy and asthmatic patients for its ability to cause relaxation of the airway passages or bronchodilation. A significant positive effect that is dose-dependent was observed in asthmatic patients, accompanied by improved pulmonary capacity. 

The THC aerosol also had adverse effects such as cough and chest discomfort, due to irritation in some of the subjects, so it is still unsuitable for therapeutic use.

 30. CBD and THC weaken the allergic airway response, asthma statistics reveal.

(NCBI)

As observed in a study involving mice with allergic asthma, only 3 days of consecutive administration of CBD or THC before exposing them to their specific allergen resulted in decreased levels of certain inflammatory cells and their derivatives, effectively cutting the inflammatory chain. 

The mice experienced diminished allergy symptoms and lower IgE levels in serum and mucus.

31. High amounts of THC and CBD can block the production of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines.

(NCBI)

In vitro experiments on the effects of CBD and THC on a human tissue showed that concentrations similar to those in human circulation after smoking marijuana had a lowering effect on certain cytokine production. 

Asthma statistics show that cytokines have a crucial role in inducing inflammation in asthma, so using CBD and asthma treatment could mean the same thing.

32. CBD may be a safe alternative for asthmatics suffering from hypertension

(NCBI)

Hypertension medications have a negative impact on asthma exacerbation. A small 2015 study showed that CBD can lower blood pressure or keep steady, especially in stress-responses. 

One of the interesting facts about asthma is that CBD doesn’t present any risk related to other hypertension medication. So, CBD oil for asthma sufferers with high blood pressure could be a  safer choice.  

33. CBD can be used as a substitute for anti-Inflammatory medication in asthma patients.

(Med Safe) (NCBI)

As stated in the asthma treatment section, some NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen can trigger asthma attacks and cause severe symptoms in asthmatics.

CBD oil and asthma are a much better match in patients that need to take anti-inflammatory medication because CBD doesn’t present severe side-effects associated with NSAIDs.  

FAQs

Asthma Statistics -FAQs

How many people die from asthma?

(NCBI) (Global Asthma Report)

Approximately 420,000 people in the world die from asthma every year as noted by the Global Asthma report in 2016. Figures for 2016 state that asthma accounts for less than 1% of all deaths in most countries. 

The rates of Asthma-related deaths vary drastically by country, but, over the past decade, they continue to decline steadily.

Which state has the highest asthma rate?

(Statista) (Statista) (Statista)

In 2017 in the US, the highest asthma rate (8.5%) was observed in the Northeast region; with the Midwest being a close second (8.4%).

For 2016, the highest lifetime prevalence of asthma in children was noted in Massachusetts (21%). 

Likewise, among adults, the highest lifetime prevalence was marked in Hawaii (17.3%), followed by the state of Oregon (17.2%).

Where is asthma more common in the world?

(NCBI) (Global Asthma Report)

Following worldwide statistics from 2012, the highest prevalence of asthma was recorded in Australia (21.5%). The prevalence report marked Australia as a global asthma leader by three categories: clinically diagnosed asthma, treated asthma, and wheezing. 

Other countries with a high prevalence of clinical asthma are Sweden (20.2%), the UK (18.2%), the Netherlands (15.3%), and Brazil (13.0%). The lowest percentage was noted in China (0.2%).

How many children die each year from asthma?

(AAAAI) (European Lung White Book)

Globally, the mortality rate among children with asthma is fairly low — hence why, when it comes to childhood asthma, global reports are mainly focused on morbidity. 

In the US there were 219 recorded child deaths (0-–18 years) caused by asthma in 2015. In most cases, a deadly asthma attack in a child is related to improper treatment, poor response to medications, severe symptoms for a prolonged time, and demanding sports and exercise. 

Worldwide, the prevalence of asthma data shows that 4.5% of children asthmatics have a severe type of asthma that is highly unresponsive to treatment.

Bottom Line 

These facts and figures depict a clear picture of the debilitating effects of asthma. They also attest to the patient’s constant need and search for asthma prevention and better medication. Research is focused to grant their wish of naturally-derived products that will allow them to live more fully.

Asthma statistics also show that cannabinoids may offer the asthmatic ability to fearlessly do activities, have fewer constraints and side-effects, or in other words, to allow them to breathe more easily. Still, more research should be done to determine which cannabinoids are to be used and what their impact is.

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