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Rise in Asthma is Puzzling Experts

May 4, 2011
Plain English Version

Americans are suffering from asthma in record numbers. Nearly one in 10 children and almost one in 12 Americans of all ages now has asthma.

A government report says that asthma increased among all groups: men, women, whites, blacks and Hispanics. The study found that asthma among black children had gone from 11.4 percent in 2001 to 17 percent in 2009.

Officials could not explain why there was an increase. They thought the reduction in cigarette smoking would lower asthma rates. They said individuals can take measures to control symptoms.

Educating asthma patients helps prevent it. It means the proper use of medication. Each patient should have a written medical plan. The report said only one-third of patients had a plan. Only one-half know what changes to make to end asthma triggers at home.

The report said deaths due to asthma fell to about 3,500 in 2007, from a peak of about 5,500 deaths in 1996.

Possible causes for the increase in asthma include exposure to various allergens, traffic exhaust fumes, pesticides and certain plastics. Factors like obesity and diet may play a role.

Experts said they could not fully explain the reasons for the increase.

The New York Times


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