May is Asthma Awareness Month, and today – May 5 – is World Asthma Day.
Because I work in the world of statistics, it’s important for me to think about Asthma Day in the context of data. According to the CDC, 25 million Americans have asthma, or 1 in every 13 people; a number that has been steadily increasing since the 1980s. Asthma is more common in adult women than adult men, more common in boys than girls, more common in Black children than in children of any other ethnicity. It’s the top reason for missed school days in children. And every day, 10 Americans die from it, while Black Americans are three times more likely to die from asthma as other ethnicities. Those are some of the facts.
In addition to viewing asthma from an analytic perspective, I view it from a very personal standpoint as well. As a sufferer of asthma since childhood, for me, every day is Asthma Day. I am extremely lucky to have well-controlled asthma, as well as access to excellent medical care. Not everyone in America is as fortunate as I am; over 60% of adults with asthma have uncontrolled asthma. Many people in many places all over the country are struggling to control their asthma.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has made it part of its mission to shine a light on the factors that lead to a higher risk of asthma, as well as document the disparities and inequities around asthma. Released today, the 2021 Asthma Capitals Report ranks the 100 Most Challenging Places to Live with Asthma based on the prevalence of asthma, the death rate from asthma, and the asthma ER visits. Where does your city rank on this list? My adopted hometown, Washington D.C., slid down one spot since the 2019 rankings. We obviously have a lot of work to do.
The PCMA Foundation supports non-partisan research through independent research grants. The Foundation is a proud supporter of the AAFA and their 2021 Asthma Capitals Report, as well as other research projects.