I recently read a book written for physicians called Fatal Asthma. I wouldn't recommend it though, because it was a difficult read. Yet it was filled with some excellent asthma facts I thought I'd share with you.
So, in honor of asthma and allergy awareness month, here are 16 asthma facts I learned from reading this lawyer-like manual of a book:
- 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 (myself included).
- 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).
- Only 10 percent of asthmatics develop severe asthma (That comes to less than 1 to 2 percent of the population, yet still significant).
- A major cause of severe asthma is cigarette smoke, either 1st or 2nd hand (one more reason not to smoke in front of your kids).
- Nearly all cases of 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.)
- 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).
- Most fatal asthma attacks do not occur in the hospital. Most patients who reach the hospital with an intact central nervous system survive (Take note of this if you're a Goofus or Martyr Asthmatic). 8. Most people who die from a severe asthma attack delayed going to the hospital (which is something asthmatics in denial tend to do. Know the warning signs that indicate when to go to the emergency room.
- Asthmatics who have had severe or near-fatal asthma attacks have an increased likelihood of having a fatal asthma attack in the future. (This is why very close contact with your doctor is essential).
- Most asthmatics who suffer a near fatal attack hadn't been taking their medicines as prescribed (or, as I mentioned above, they delayed seeking treatment, or they abused their rescue inhaler).
- Even mild asthmatics can die of asthma (but, again, mostly due to improper care or delayed treatment).
- It's not clear that overusing Albuterol increases the risk of a fatal asthma attack (yet that's not an excuse to abuse it as I've explained before.) Know the signs of bronchodilator abuse.
- Using albuterol as your ONLY asthma treatment may contribute to fatal asthma, 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.)
- 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.
- 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).
- African Americans have an increased incidence of asthma than whites. Socioeconomic status may be a factor, but recent studies show higher IgE serum levels and higher prevalence for bronchial responsivemenss in blacks as compared with whites.
There, I spared you a 607-page read. The bottom line here is that asthma awareness is an important first step to taking care of this disease. And with proper care, those with asthma can lead an active, healthy life.