Nearly one in 12 Americans now say they have the respiratory disease asthma, federal health officials say.
About 8.2 percent of Americans had asthma in a 2009 national survey of about 40,000 individuals. That’s nearly 25 million people with asthma, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.
The rate had been holding steady at a little under 8 percent for the previous four years.
Better diagnostic efforts could be part of the reason for the increase. They were believed to be a main reason for an increase in asthma seen from 1980 through 1995, said Dr. Lara Akinbami, a medical officer at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.
Asthma is a chronic disease involving attacks of impaired breathing. Symptoms may include coughing, wheezing, and chest pain. It can be fatal: Health officials estimate more than 3,000 U.S. asthma deaths occur each year.