Asthma Facts

  • Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the lung airways that causes coughing, chest tightness, wheezing or shortness of breath.
  • 7.7% of Americans have asthma. Of these roughly 24.9 million, 20.2 million are adults and 4.6 million are children.1
  • Asthma prevalence is higher in adults (8.0 percent) than in children (6.5 percent), and higher in females (9.7 percent) than males (6.2 percent).1
  • Patients with asthma reported 94,000 hospital inpatient stays and more than 900,000 visits to the Emergency department.1
  • The estimated economic cost of asthma is $50 billion annually.2
  • More than 3,500 people die of asthma each year, nearly a third of whom are age 65 or older. Recent statistics show that half of people with asthma have at least one asthma attack each year, with adults (39.6 percent) more likely to have an attack than children (38.7 percent).1
  • Asthma symptoms can be triggered by exposure to an allergen (such as ragweedpollenanimal dander or dust mites), irritants in the air (such as smoke, chemical fumes or strong odors) or extreme weather conditions. Exercise or an illness – particularly a respiratory illness or the flu – can also make you more susceptible.
  • 60% of adults and 44% of children with current asthma have uncontrolled asthma, according to the CDC.3
  • Asthma is often hereditary.
  • Weather conditions such as extremely dry, wet or windy weather can worsen an asthma condition.
  • Effective asthma treatment includes monitoring the disease with a peak flow meter, identifying and avoiding allergen triggers, using drug therapies including bronchodilators and anti-inflammatory agents, and developing an emergency plan for severe attacks.
  • One of the most effective medications for controlling asthma is inhaled corticosteroids, which are anti-inflammatory medications. Taken early and as directed, these well-tolerated and safe medications can improve asthma control and normalize lung function.
  • Immunotherapy or allergy shots should be considered if asthma is triggered by exposure to unavoidable allergens, or if symptoms occur three days a week and more than two nights a month. The shots are especially helpful when symptoms occur year-round or are not easily controlled with medication.
  • Allergists are the medical specialists with the most expertise in treating asthma. An allergist can find the source of your suffering and stop it. To find an allergist, visit

1. Most Recent National Asthma Data (CDC)

2. Control Asthma (CDC)

3. CDC

This page was reviewed for accuracy June 28, 2023.