According to the CDC, there are an estimated 25 million people in the United States (300 million worldwide) that are diagnosed and/or receive treated for asthma every year. It is also estimated that asthma costs the U.S. economy more than $81.9 billion per year in medical expenses, missed work/school and or death.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that is marked by spasms in the bronchi of the lungs. The bronchial tubes allow air to come in and out of the lungs, so when an asthmatic person experiences these spasms, it results in difficulty breathing. These convulsions are usually the result of an allergic reaction or another form of hypersensitivity. When you have asthma, your airways become inflamed and swollen, and the muscles around your airways tighten.
Who is susceptible to Asthma? Most people with asthma have allergies. People with allergens respond to triggers from common things like:
- House dust mites
- Dander from pets
- Cigarette smoke
- Some additives in food and some foods themselves
Is Asthma a health cost burden for some?
Unfortunately, this is a yes. It is estimated that about 44 million people in the U.S. do not have health insurance and there are another 38 million dealing with inadequate health insurance. Asthma is often a lifelong condition that varies in degrees of severity over the course a patient’s lifetime. Asthma is a significant health problem and one that can require the patient to be seen frequently by an emergency department which in turn can lead to hospital admission. Some of the other costs that are included in managing asthma are:
- Medications, including over the counter and alternative medicines
- Outpatient visits
- Doctor visits, nursing staff, paramedic costs
- Blood testing
- Lung function tests
Overall, estimated costs of asthma based on a 2008-2013 pool sampled are (the below information is from Science Daily research https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180112091212.htm):
- About 15.4 million people in the U.S. had treated asthma each year.
- The total annual cost of asthma in the U.S., including medical care, absenteeism and mortality, was $ 81.9 billion.
- The annual per-person medical cost of asthma was $ 3,266. Of that, $ 1,830 was for prescriptions, $ 640 for office visits, $ 529 for hospitalizations, $ 176 for hospital outpatient visits and $ 105 for emergency room care.
- Asthma-related mortality cost $ 29 billion per year, representing on average 3,168 deaths.
- Missed work and school combined $ 3 billion per year, representing 8.7 million workdays and 5.2 million school days lost due to asthma.
People with no health insurance had significantly lower per person total medical expenditure for asthma compared to insured people