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Statistics About Asthma

About one out of every eleven people in Massachusetts currently has asthma — 10.2% of adults and 12.9% children.

Asthma is a significant public health problem in the United States and in Massachusetts. In 2010 in the United States, over 25.7 million people currently had asthma (8.2% of all Americans), including an estimated 7 million children and 18.7 million adults. Nationally, the prevalence of asthma has been increasing since 1980 across all age, sex, and racial groups. The prevalence of asthma in Massachusetts is among the highest reported for states. In 2015, approximately 10.5% of people in Massachusetts – 10.2% of adults and 12.9% children – had asthma.

When asthma is not well controlled or very poorly controlled, people experience frequent symptoms that can interfere with their lives. Most adults (73.7%) and children (66.2%) with asthma were classified as having not well controlled or very poorly controlled asthma on average from 2006-2010 (this is the most recent data available due to the small sample size after sampling design changed).

Close to half (41.1%) of children with current asthma were unable to go to school or daycare for at least one day during the past twelve months due to asthma. Adults ages 65 years and older had the 2nd highest rate of hospitalization due to asthma, but had the lowest rates of emergency department visits and outpatient observation stays due to asthma.

The Prevalence of Asthma is High in Massachusetts

  • In 2015, approximately 1 in 9 people in Massachusetts – 10.2% of adults and 12.9% children – currently had asthma2.
  • The prevalence of lifetime and current asthma among adults was higher in Massachusetts than the nation.
  • In Massachusetts, prevalence of current asthma was higher among
    • Adult females compared to adult males
    • Male children compared to female children
    • Adults and children in households with lower incomes
    • Adults and children in households with lower educational attainment of the adult
    • Adults who smoke
    • Adults and children who have a disability
  • The prevalence of current asthma in Massachusetts was higher among Black, Non-Hispanic adults (13.8%) than White, non-Hispanic (10.4%) adults, whereas the prevalence of current asthma among adults was similar across race/ethnicity subgroups in 20152.
  • Among children in Massachusetts, the prevalence of current asthma was higher among Black, non-Hispanic and Hispanic children than White, non-Hispanic children. However, these differences were not statistically significant1.

Moorman JE, Akinbami LJ, Bailey CM, et al. National Surveillance of Asthma: United States, 2001–2010. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 3(35). 2012

2 A Profile of Health Among Massachusetts Adults, 2015 - PDF

A Profile of Health Among Massachusetts Adults, 2015 - DOC

 

 

Asthma Seriously Affects the Lives of People in Massachusetts

  • In Massachusetts, 73.7% of adults and 66.2% of children with current asthma were classified as having not well controlled or very poorly controlled asthma on average from 2006-2010.
    • Among adults with very poorly controlled asthma, 40.7% reported cost was a barrier to care.
  • Approximately 24.4% of adults with current asthma were unable to work for at least one day during the past twelve months due to asthma.
  • 41.1% of children with current asthma were unable to go to school or daycare for at least one day during the past twelve months due to asthma.

Figure 1 Level of Control among Massachusetts Children with Current Asthma, 2006-2010

pie chart showing level of control among Massachusetts children with current asthma, 2006-2010

Data source:

  • CY2006-2010 MA Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Asthma Call-back Survey

Asthma in Massachusetts is Costly

  • The total charges for hospitalization due to asthma in Massachusetts increased 82.5% from $57 million in 2002 to $104 million in 2013.
  • In 2013, public insurance (including Free Care, Medicare, and Medicaid) was the expected payer for 66.61% of hospitalizations due to asthma.

Figure 2. Total Charges for Hospitalizations Due to Asthma, Massachusetts Residents, 2002-2013

chart showing asthma hospital charges

Data source:

  • CY2002-2013 Massachusetts Hospitalization Discharge Database, Massachusetts Center for Health Information and Analysis

Disparities Exist in Hospitalizations, Emergency Department Visits, and Outpatient Observation Stays by age, gender and race/ethnicity.

  • Adults ages 65 years and older had the 2nd highest rate of hospitalization due to asthma, but had the lowest rates of emergency department visits and outpatient observation stays due to asthma.
  • From 2002 through 2013, Black, non-Hispanics and Hispanics consistently had significantly higher age-adjusted rates of hospitalization due to asthma than White, non-Hispanics. Children ages 0-4 years had the highest rates of emergency department visits, outpatient observation stays, and hospitalization due to asthma

Figure 3 Age-Specific Rates of Emergency Department (ED) Visits Due to Asthma, Massachusetts Residents, 2009-2013

chart showing age-specific rates of emergency department visits due to asthma for Massachusetts residents, 2009-2013

For more information about Massachusetts asthma statistics, please contact prevention.wellness@state.ma.us.

Data source:

  • CY2011-2013 Massachusetts Emergency Department Discharge Database, Massachusetts Center for Health Information and Analysis

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