What is Asthma?

16 Interesting Asthma Facts You Should Know

The HealthCentral Editorial Team Mar 28th, 2012 (updated Jun 30th, 2016)
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Children do not typically outgrow asthma
Children do not typically outgrow asthma

It is a common myth that a child will outgrow his asthma (despite what some Recovered Asthmatics might say as they light up a cigarette). In fact, 95 percent of children with persistent asthma still have symptoms into adulthood.

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Life expectancy the same for non-asthmatics and people with mild asthma
Life expectancy the same for non-asthmatics and people with mild asthma

The life expectancy for mild asthmatics is the same as for those who do not have asthma, which is about 80 years. (This is great news. So take care of yourself and you can live long and prosper).

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Only 10% of asthmatics develop severe asthma
Only 10% of asthmatics develop severe asthma

That comes to less than 1-2% of the population, yet still significant.

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A major cause of severe asthma is cigarette smoke
A major cause of severe asthma is cigarette smoke

This includes both 1st or 2nd hand (one more reason not to smoke in front of your kids).

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Most asthma-related deaths result from a lack of oxygen and not from cardiac arrest
Most asthma-related deaths result from a lack of oxygen and not from cardiac arrest

This is significant because rapid oxygen administration can prevent asthma-related deaths.

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More than 20 million Americans have asthma
More than 20 million Americans have asthma

This year, more than 4,000 Americans will die from asthma attacks. (most of which could be prevented with proper care and a good Asthma Action Plan).

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Most fatal asthma attacks do not occur in the hospital
Most fatal asthma attacks do not occur in the hospital

Most patients who reach the hospital with an intact central nervous system survive.

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Most people who die from a severe asthma attack delayed going to the hospital
Most people who die from a severe asthma attack delayed going to the hospital

This is something asthmatics in denial tend to do.

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Near-fatal asthma attacks increase risk of a fatal asthma attack in the future
Near-fatal asthma attacks increase risk of a fatal asthma attack in the future

This is why very close contact with your doctor is essential.

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Most asthmatics who suffer a near fatal attack hadn't been compliant
Most asthmatics who suffer a near fatal attack hadn't been compliant

This means they were not taking their medicine as prescribed. Or they delayed seeking treatment, or they abused their rescue inhaler.

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Even mild asthmatics can die of asthma
Even mild asthmatics can die of asthma

But, again, mostly due to improper care or delayed treatment.

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Overusing Albuterol does not increase the risk of a fatal asthma attack
Overusing Albuterol does not increase the risk of a fatal asthma attack

Yet that's not an excuse to abuse it.

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Using albuterol as your ONLY asthma treatment may contribute to fatal asthma
Using albuterol as your ONLY asthma treatment may contribute to fatal asthma

This is because the albuterol does not manage chronic inflammation in the airways, the cause of asthma (This is why you should always use your asthma meds as prescribed).

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Boys are twice as likely to develop asthma as girls
Boys are twice as likely to develop asthma as girls

But the exact reason is unknown. Studies show boys are more likely to have a positive allergy tests, to show more bronchial hyperresponsiveness and to appear to have different patterns of airway function development.

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Socioeconomic status and asthma fatality are inversely related
Socioeconomic status and asthma fatality are inversely related

In other words, the poorer you are, the more likely you are to die from your asthma (probably because the poor have less access to asthma wisdom, medicine and good care and they are more exposed to common asthma triggers such as pollution, dust, cockroaches and animal dander).

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African Americans have an increased incidence of asthma
African Americans have an increased incidence of asthma

Socioeconomic status may be a factor, but recent studies show higher IgE serum levels and higher prevalence for bronchial responsivemenss in African Americans as compared with whites.