Prevalence of Asthma Disparities
Asthma, a chronic disease characterized by airway inflammation, was active in 20 million people in the United States in 2002. It accounts annually for 1.9 million emergency department (ED) visits, 12.7 million office visits, and an economic burden of $5.1 billion.
The burden of asthma in the United States, however, is not uniform. Compared to whites, the prevalence of asthma is particularly high in Puerto Ricans, non-Hispanic blacks, and American Indians. Asthma morbidity is strikingly higher in certain ethnic minority subgroups; for example, asthma-related hospitalization and mortality in African Americans is 1.4 to 4.0 times and 1.3 to 5.5 times more likely, respectively, than in whites.