Where NOT to Live if You Have Asthma -- Knoxville, Tennessee!

Health Professional

Have you ever been to Knoxville, Tennessee? I have, or at least I've driven through it... it's lovely, set in the rolling green foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. But apparently, it's not as nice as it looks, at least not for those of us who have asthma.

For the third time in five years, Knoxville has been named the top Asthma Capital of the year by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). And that is no honor. What it means is that Knoxville is the most challenging city to live  in the U.S. for people who have asthma.

So, how do you get listed as an Asthma Capital? Well, the following factors go into it:

  • Prevalence Factors, such  as morbidity and mortality statistics
  • Risk Factors, such as air quality, pollen, "100% smoke-free" laws, poverty and more
  • Medical Factors, such as medication usage and access to specialists

Knoxville has poor air quality, high levels of pollen and lacks "smoke-free" laws, as well as heavier than normal use of quick-relief inhalers. Not a great combination. Here are the top 10 asthma capitals for 2008:

1. Knoxville, TN
2. Tulsa, OK
3. Milwaukee, WI
4. Atlanta, GA
5. Memphis, TN
6. Allentown, PA
7. Charlotte, NC
8. Greenville, SC
9. St. Louis, MO
10. Greensboro, NC

The AAFA states that they create annual Asthma Capitals list "to call attention to the asthma epidemic and to advocate for changes in each city to improve the quality of life for people with asthma."

However, they also emphasize that moving is not the answer if you have asthma. Every place has its own unique factors that can make it a challenging place to live for people who have asthma. The key is to get an asthma management plan in place that provides adequate control for your asthma, no matter what environmental challenges you need to deal with.