What is Asthma?
Asthma is characterized by inflammation of the air passages resulting in the temporary narrowing of the airways that transport air from the nose and mouth to the lungs. Asthma symptoms can be caused by allergens or irritants that are inhaled into the lungs, resulting in inflamed, clogged and constricted airways. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing tightness in the chest. In severe cases, asthma can be deadly.
There is no cure for asthma, but asthma can be managed with proper prevention and treatment. Asthma has a genetic component. If only one parent has asthma, chances are 1 in 3 that each child will have asthma. If both parents have asthma, it is much more likely (7 in 10) that their children will have asthma. More Americans than ever before say they are suffering from asthma. It is one of this country's most common and costly diseases.
Despite advances in asthma care and management, asthma:
Why We Tackle Asthma
No one should die from asthma! People living with this chronic disease can lead normal, active lives if their asthma is managed properly.
Asthma is a chronic, treatable disease that causes narrowing of the airways, making breathing difficult at times. More than 22 million people in the United States have asthma, including 6.5 million children under age 18, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Without appropriate treatment, asthma can significantly limit individuals’ activities and result in asthma exacerbation, which can lead to hospitalization and even death. The CDC estimates that 4,000 Americans die from asthma exacerbation's each year.
Asthma can be treated and managed. People with asthma can live a symptom-free life without limiting activity. Due to a lack of knowledge and a lack of compliance, people living with asthma still do not manage their disease well. Rather, they treat the symptoms, which often lead to complications, greater use of the emergency department, increased hospitalizations and even death.
Asthma is still often misdiagnosed or under-diagnosed and under-treated. Treatment goes beyond medications to controlling factors that worsen asthma symptoms. These risk factors include, but are not limited to, second-hand smoke, greater exposure to allergens and air pollution and poor housing conditions.
Opportunities for tackling asthma include:
The Coalition is a nonprofit partnership of public health, environmental agencies, managed care professionals, clinicians parents and other community stakeholders. As a partnership we can do so many things to make a positive difference in the lives of people with asthma ... from educating Arizonans and the medical community and advocating for changes in public policy to finding ways to control asthma and eliminating deaths and suffering.
For more information visit NIH - National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
Asthma in Arizona
In 2005, the Arizona Asthma Coalition published a position paper titled, "Breathing Easier in Arizona," The purpose of this paper is to raise awareness about the seriousness of asthma in Ariziona. The Coalition believes that Asthma is preventable and treatable, but we must be proactive in many arenas and make significant changes. Those changes must include improvement in patient care and clinical management, air quality, school and work environments.
We hope that this paper will continue to serve as a catalyst to action, improving the lives of people living with asthma in Arizona.
Compared to all U.S. residents, Arizonans are disproportionately impacted by asthma. In 2014, 9/6% of adult Arizonans reported having asthma, compared to a national rate of 8.9%. This equates to more than 484,000 Arizona adults with asthma.
In addition, 10.9% of Arizona youth (17 years and younger) reported having asthma, compared to a national rate of 9.2%. This equates to more than 174,000 Arizona youth with asthma.
In total, more than 615,000 Arizonans reported having asthma, or 1 in every 11 residents.
About the coalition
As a nonprofit partnership since 1996, AAC has worked together with concerned stakeholders including public health, environmental quality, managed care, education, individual physicians and nurses, hospitals, foundations, families and other colleagues.