Background: Asthma is prevalent but treatable: adherence to evidence-based treatment lessens impairment and lowers the risk of future exacerbations.
Objective: This report details recent trends in asthma prevalence, health care use, and mortality since 2001 and presents an overview of trends since 1980.
Methods: Asthma prevalence estimates were obtained from the National Health Interview Survey (2001-2010). Physician office visit data were obtained from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, hospital outpatient department and emergency department (ED) visit data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, hospitalization data from the National Hospital Discharge Survey, and death data from the National Vital Statistics System (2001-2009). Two types of rates were calculated: population-based rates based on the total population and risk-based rates based on the population with asthma.
Results: Current asthma prevalence increased from 2001 to 2010. There were no significant changes in rates for hospital outpatient department visits, ED visits, or hospitalizations, whereas risk-based rates for private physician office visits declined. Asthma death rates decreased from 2001 to 2009. Over the long term, asthma prevalence rose more slowly after 2001 than during 1980-1996, asthma hospitalizations declined since 1984 and deaths declined since 1999. Disparities by race and sex for adverse outcomes remained high despite these declines.
Conclusion: Since 2001, asthma prevalence increased, risk-based rates for visits to private physician offices and deaths declined, and risk-based rates for other types of ambulatory visits and for hospitalizations showed no clear trend.
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