15 Interesting Asthma Facts You Should Know

by John Bottrell Health Professional

There’s a book called Fatal Asthma that was published in 1998 and it is filled with some interesting asthma facts I thought I'd share with you.

Now I certainly wouldn't want to rehash the standard asthma facts you can get on great websites like ours, or epa.gov and AAAAI.org.

So, in honor of asthma and allergy awareness month, here are 15 asthma facts I learned from the book:

  1. 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).

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

  3. A small percentage of individuals with asthma (between 5 and 10 percent) have uncontrolled or partially controlled asthma, termed “severe asthma” (which amounts to less than 1 to 2 percent of the population, yet still significant).

  4. A major instigator of asthma attacks is cigarette smoke, either firsthand or secondhand, or even thirdhand smoke (one more reason not to smoke in front of your kids).

  5. 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.)

  6. More than 20 million Americans have asthma. The most recent statistics suggest that 3615 Americans died from asthma attacks in 2015 (most of which could be prevented with proper care and a good asthma
    action plan

  7. Most fatal asthma attacks do not occur in the hospital. Most patients who reach the hospital without suffering sever and prolonged oxygen deprivation survive. 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 (this can be life saving!).

  8. 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 regular visits and an ongoing relationship with your doctor is essential).

  9. 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).

  10. Even mild asthmatics can experience a serious, life-threatening asthma attack (but, again, mostly due to improper care or delayed treatment).

  11. It’s important to understand your rescue medications and the medications that are prescribed for daily maintenance. Each drug has a purpose and not following usage as directed can raise the risk of an asthma exacerbation or a serious, life-threatening asthma attack.

  12. 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.)

  13. 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 appear to have different patterns of airway function development.

  14. 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).

  15. 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 hyper-responsiveness in blacks as compared with whites.

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.

John Bottrell
Meet Our Writer
John Bottrell

John Bottrell is a registered Respiratory Therapist. He wrote for HealthCentral as a health professional for Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).