There are two types of asthma: allergic (caused by exposure to an allergen) and non-allergic (caused by stress, exercise, illnesses like a cold or the flu, exposure to extreme weather, irritants in the air, or some medications). Many patients have both allergic and non-allergic asthma.
Prevention of symptoms is the best strategy. A person with asthma should know what situations trigger an attack and avoid them whenever possible. If asthma attacks are severe, unpredictable, or flare up more than twice a week, consultation with an allergist can help determine their cause and provide long-term treatment that controls or eliminates the symptoms.
Studies show that people with asthma who see a specialist, such as an allergist, reduce their:
Asthma is among the most common chronic childhood illnesses, accounting for 10.5 million missed school days a year. It also accounts for 14.2 million lost workdays for adults.
Every year, about 14 million Americans see a doctor for asthma. About 1.4 million patients visit a hospital outpatient department for asthma; almost 1.75 million go to a hospital emergency room.
The number of people in the U.S. diagnosed with asthma is increasing. The greatest rise in asthma rates is among black children, with an almost 50 percent increase from 2001 through 2009. Researchers estimate asthma-related costs, including the direct cost of health care and indirect costs such as decreased worker productivity, at around $60 billion annually. Many people with asthma manage the condition well and live a healthy and productive life by avoiding triggers and following their allergists’ instructions. If left unmanaged or misdiagnosed, asthma can be fatal; about 3,300 people die from it annually. Most of these deaths can be prevented with good treatment.