Adults with Asthma

Percentage of adults with asthma in the United States, as of 2009.

Percentage of adults with asthma in the United States, as of 2009

Asthma is a serious health concern that affects adults throughout the entirety of the United States. In 2010, it was estimated that 18.7 million adults had asthma, the equivalent of 1 in 12 adults. The graph on the right shows the percentage of adults with asthma, by state, in 2009. In Virginia, it was estimated that 7%-8% of adults had asthma.

If not properly managed, asthma can lead to death. In 2009, 3,388 deaths were related to asthma and among these deaths, more adults than children were affected. Among these statistics, 617 adults over the age of 85 died that year. According to the American Lung Association, asthma related deaths increase with age and individuals over the age of 65 are among those more prone to mortality. Additionally, statistics show that adults with obesity and who smoke have more asthma related attacks than those who do not. Therefore, properly managing asthma is a crucial task to maintaining good health.

In addition to raising health concerns, asthma causes economic strain. Asthma contributed to approximately 14.2 million missed days of work in 2008. This means that daily, about 27,000 adults are missing work, totaling nearly $3 billion in lost productivity.* Additionally, adults are burdened financially from doctor visits and hospitalizations related to asthma. In 2009, asthma caused 479,300 hospitalizations and 8.9 million doctor visits.

How can adults properly manage their asthma? 

It is important that adults who suffer from asthma complete an Asthma Action Plan. The Virginia Department of Health provides an Asthma Action Plan that adults can fill out with assistance from their doctor. The plan can be found here. A visit to your doctor can help create a customized plan to regulate your asthma and keep attacks from regularly occurring.

The Virginia Asthma Coalition website also provides resources specifically for adults and children in Virginia, who are suffering from asthma.

*Visit the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America for more Asthma Fast Facts


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