32 Asthma Statistics & Facts That Will Leave You Breathless

Asthma Statistics

Asthma is the 14th most debilitating illness around the world as shocking facts about asthma 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 339 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.

10 Most Interesting Facts & Asthma Statistics for 2021

  • Hippocrates was the first person who associated asthma with environmental triggers.
  • Children with asthma are not at a higher risk of getting infected by COVID-19.
  • About 5.5. million children in the US have asthma.
  • 1.1 million British children suffer from asthma.
  • 97% of children with asthma don’t know how to use their inhalator.
  • 17% of Americans that suffer from asthma are regular smokers.
  • 16.67% of Indian children that live in urban areas have asthma.
  • Cape Coral, Florida, is the best city for asthmatics.
  • By 2027, the global asthma treatment market will reach $26.01 billion.
  • CBD reduces asthma-related structural changes in the lungs.

5 Basic, Must-Know Facts About Asthma

What causes this condition, and what are its most common symptoms? 

1. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition that causes wheezing, shortness of breath, and coughing.

(Asthma Canada)

Asthma has allergic (inflammatory) and non-allergic (symptom) triggers. The first one will cause an allergic reaction which will result in tightening of the airway muscles. Some of the most common allergy triggers include pollens, dust mites, and animals. The most common non-allergic triggers are smoke, intense emotions, exercise, and cold air.

2. Genetics, family history, environment, and obesity can all cause asthma. 

(Asthma Canada)

If you want to understand what is asthma, you first need to understand what causes it. Since there’s no definitive cause, we need to rely on the following risk factors. When it comes to genetics and family history, children of mothers that have been diagnosed with asthma have a three times higher risk of developing this condition themselves, i.e., 2.5 times higher if their father has asthma.

What causes asthma can also be linked to premature birth or lung Infection, in addition to the environmental air quality, occupational exposures, and being obese.

3. The most common types of asthma are nocturnal asthma, exercise-induced asthma, and allergic asthma.

(MedicineNet)

Most of the people who have asthma suffer from nocturnal asthma. Its symptoms are more vivid at night (hence the name), and they include chest pain, wheezing, and coughing. Does asthma kill? Yes, it can kill. Based on the studies, nocturnal asthma is linked to most asthma-related deaths.  

The next common asthma type is exercise-induced asthma (aka exercise-induced bronchoconstriction). This type can be triggered during an exercise, and its symptoms include coughing and wheezing. 

Allergic asthma or seasonal asthma is associated with allergens (dust mites, pollen) that can trigger an asthma attack. 

4. Hippocrates was the first person who associated asthma with environmental triggers.

(Medical News Today)

What is an interesting fact about asthma you should know about? While Chinese and Egyptian people mention this condition in their ancient scriptures, Hippocrates was the first person who described its symptoms. 

That said, the first person who composed the definition of asthma (similar to the one we have today) was Aretaeus of Cappadocia. Aretaeus even suggested one unusual remedy for asthma. A concoction of wine and owl’s blood.

5. 70–90% of asthma patients have allergic rhinitis.

(Allergy UK)

If left without proper treatment and care, people that have allergy-caused rhinitis have a five times higher chance of developing difficult-to-control asthma.  

Childhood Asthma Statistics & Facts

What are the symptoms of childhood asthma, and how many children suffer from this condition?

6. 1.1 million British children suffer from asthma.

(Asthma UK)

Due to coronavirus, about 130,000 children in England didn’t go on their annual asthma checkups. This could result with a spike in asthma cases after the schools reopen. 

7. 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 7,000 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

8. About 5.5 million children in the US have asthma.

(CDC) (Mayo Clinic)

Symptoms of asthma in children include shortness of breath, frequent coughing that can be triggered by a viral infection, exercise, or cold air, wheezing, and chest congestion. Keep in mind that the symptoms won’t always be the same. They can become better or worse in the future. 

Even though childhood asthma is incurable, it can be controllable with the proper treatment. 

9. Studies on kids with asthma and coronavirus suggest children with asthma are not at a higher risk of getting infected by COVID-19.

(Kids Health)

The risk of getting infected with COVID-19 is not higher for children who suffer from this condition. That said, given that this is a new virus, experts are still trying to find if there’s a connection between severe asthma symptoms and covid symptoms. 

10. Facts about asthma in India are worrying as 16.67% of Indian children that live in urban areas have asthma. 

(Cloudnine Care)

About 1 in 10 children suffers from the condition. Less than 5.7% of children from rural areas have asthma. This only shows how the environment can make an immense difference. The air in the big cities is more polluted, and there are much more allergens in the air. 

11. The prevalence of asthma in the US is more common in boys than girls.

(American Lung Association

When it comes to childhood asthma, 8.3% of boys and 6.7% of girls suffer from this condition. Interestingly enough, the prevalence rates are reversed among adults. In other words, 9.8% of women can still have asthma, compared to 5.5% of men. Why?

Boys are more likely to have asthma because of the airway size that’s smaller than the one girls have. Asthma facts and statistics also suggest that its prevalence becomes almost the same in men and women when they enter their 20s, while women in their 40s are more likely to suffer from adult asthma than men. 

12. According to one study, 97% of children with asthma don’t know how to use their inhalator.

(WebMD)

A study conducted on children between ages 8 and 14 and their parents showed only 5% of children knew how to use their inhaler flawlessly. 

Facts About Asthma and Adults  

How many adult people worldwide have asthma?

13. About 17% of Americans that suffer from asthma are regular smokers.

(American Lung Association) (WebMD

Not only can tobacco trigger asthma attacks in adults, but it can also harm people around them. For example, secondhand smoke will endanger children who have asthma more than it will hurt adults, given that children have smaller airways. 

What’s more, children of smokers are at a higher risk of developing lung and sinus infections. 

14. Asthma prevalence in the United States is highest among Blacks and American Indian/Alaska Natives.

(American Lung Association) (Everyday Health)

12% of American Indian/Alaska Natives and 10.9% of Blacks in the US suffer from asthma, compared to 7.7% of whites, 6.4% of Hispanics, and only 4% of the Asian population. Statistically, the death rates are also higher for Black Americans. 

In fact, about 23.9 per 1 million Black Americans die from asthma every year, compared to 7.4 per 1 million white Americans. As asthma statistics by race indicate, there can be various reasons behind these numbers, from lower incomes and environmental factors to biological factors and limited healthcare access. 

15. Compared to men, women are more likely to suffer from asthma due to hormones.

(American Lung Association) (Asthma UK)

Women can also experience worse asthma symptoms and more frequent attacks. Likewise, women who develop asthma after menopause will probably have problems with controlling their condition. On top of that, women with asthma that are older than 65 are at a higher risk of experiencing a life-threatening asthma attack.   

16. Interesting facts about asthma in Canada imply that 7.8% of Canadians were diagnosed with asthma in 2019.

(Statista) (Statista)

In other words, that’s about 2.5 million people over the age of 12. Asthma is also the third leading chronic disease in Canada which is responsible for roughly 250 deaths per year

17. 7.7% of American adults are diagnosed with this condition, according to CDC asthma statistics.

(CDC)

About 19.2 million Americans over 18 struggle with asthma. Although asthma is more prevalent among children, adults are more likely to die due to this condition. Based on the stats, the death rate was highest among people over 65 (29%), followed by people between 35 and 64 (11%). Death rates were lowest among people between 25 and 34 (5.2%) and people between 18 and 24 (3.8%).    

18. Myanmar has the highest asthma death rate in the world.

(World Life Expectancy)

33.58 per 100,000 people per year die due to asthma in Myanmar. In addition to that, while stroke is the number one cause of death in this country, asthma takes 10th place on the list

Kiribati (31.77 per 100,000 people), Laos (29.23 per 100,000), and Sri Lanka (27.23 per 100,000) also have high death rates due to asthma.

Be that as it may, asthma statistics worldwide report that Greece (0.10 per 100,000), Bulgaria (0.27 per 100,000), and Italy (0.29 per 100,000) have the lowest death rates.

19. Cape Coral, Florida, is the best city for asthmatics.

(AAFA)

Cape Coral is the city with the lowest asthma prevalence. Moreover, it witnessed the lowest asthma-related emergency department visits in 2019, making it the number one city for asthmatics. 

Texas is in second place, with McAllen and Houston, followed by Florida’s Sarasota and Daytona Beach. 

20. The worst city for asthmatics is Springfield, Massachusetts. 

(AAFA)

Springfield, Massachusetts, was ranked as the number one asthma capital due to the highest number of ED visits related to asthma, high prevalence of asthma, and high pollen counts. 

Next on the list of the most challenging cities for asthmatics was Dayton, Ohio, followed by Greensboro, North Carolina, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Asthma Facts About Popular Treatments 

Is asthma a condition that can be treated, and how much does it cost?

21. 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.

22. Fun facts about asthma and money report that by 2027, the global asthma treatment market will reach $26.01 billion.

(GlobeNewswire

Due to the increase in chronic respiratory diseases and the effects of the coronavirus, the global asthma market is expected to grow by a CAGR of 4.5%. 

23. Beta-agonists are no longer considered safe for asthmatics.

(NCBI)

The collected data brought an important change in the asthma treatment recommendations issued by GINA (Global Initiate for Asthma) and created new . The sole use of the so-called short-term beta-agonists for acute asthmatic episodes is no longer recommended due to the adverse long-term effect.

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.

Statistics on Asthma and Cannabis

How does cannabis affect asthma patients?

24. Smoke residues from marijuana aggravate asthma symptoms.

(NCBI)

Although cannabinoids have therapeutic effects in 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. 

25. Facts about asthma show that THC can diminish airway inflammation, cough, and airway hyper-responsiveness.

(ASPET) (ScienceDirect) (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. 

26. About 50% of people who suffer from uncontrolled asthma smoke cannabis.

(News Medical)

Furthermore, asthma stats report that only 20% of all the surveyed noted that smoking cannabis made them cough more, compared to the majority that reported more positive (calmness, pain relief) than negative effects (anxiety, cough) of cannabis use.

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

(NCBI)

The study conducted on 16 participants showed 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.

28. Asthma facts from 2019 imply that 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 cannabidiol has antagonist interaction with steroids, inhibiting their anti-inflammatory potential when used in combination.

29. 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 one 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.

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, asthma statistics reveal.

(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. 

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 medications. So, CBD oil for asthma sufferers with high blood pressure could be a  safer choice.

Bottom Line 

These asthma statistics for the US and the world 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.

Cannabinoids may offer the asthmatic ability to fearlessly do activities, have fewer constraints and side-effects. Still, more research should be done to determine which cannabinoids are to be used and what their impact is.

FAQs

How many people die from asthma?

There are over 3,500 asthma-related deaths each year, while almost half of the cases make asthma patients over 65. That said, the stats also show us that 53% of children experience at least one asthma attack every year, compared to 44.9% of adults. 

Although asthma is more prevalent among children, older adults are at a higher risk of dying from this condition. Most deaths occur during the night due to the increased exposure to allergens, airways cooling, and hormone cycles.

Which state has the highest asthma rate?

Massachusetts is the state with the highest asthma prevalence. Springfield is pronounced to be the worst city for asthmatics. In fact, it became the number one asthma capital.  

Overall, the highest prevalence was noted in the Northeast and Midwest, while the South recorded the lowest rates.

On that note, Texas is the state with the lowest prevalence of asthma. In other words, only 7% of the population lives with this condition.

How many people have asthma?

Globally speaking, over 339 million people worldwide have asthma, based on the WHO estimations and statistics. When we look at the US data, about 19.2 million adults and 5.5 million children live with asthma. 

This condition is more common among children, even though adults die more frequently from the complications caused by asthma. Additionally, low-and lower-middle-income countries account for more than 80% of asthma-related deaths.

What are the 3 types of asthma?

Nocturnal asthma, exercise-induced asthma, and allergic asthma are the three most common asthma types. 40% of asthma patients experience nocturnal asthma every single night, while its symptoms awaken 75%.

About 90% of asthma patients have bronchoconstriction triggered by exercising. The state narrows the airways, and it can cause coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. If untreated, the symptoms of exercise-induced asthma can last for up to 60 minutes and even more.

How many years does asthma last?

A year, a lifetime — asthma can either last forever or disappear with time. Children who have severe asthma symptoms are less likely to get rid of it, compared to children with mild symptoms that will probably outgrow it. 

Not to mention that children’s asthma can sometimes disappear for a certain amount of time, only to reappear a few years later. 

It’s vital to diagnose this condition as early as possible to avoid misinterpreting it with some other condition that shows similar symptoms, like recurrent pneumonia or bronchitis.

Does coronavirus affect asthma?

Yes, it does. Coronavirus can be dangerous for asthma patients that experience moderate to severe symptoms, given that the virus attacks the lungs, the nose, and the throat. This means that it can cause an asthma attack which could lead to getting infected by pneumonia or acute respiratory disease. 

Nonetheless, it seems that children with mild asthma symptoms are not getting sicker from coronavirus, as the latest facts about asthma show. On the other hand, experts still need to find the connection between coronavirus and severe asthma symptoms. 

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