Morbidity and Mortality

An estimated 6.7 million children are affected by asthma, representing approximately 9% of children in the United States (Bloom and Cohen 2007). Asthma is the most common cause for school absence and hospitalization (Akinbami 2007). In 2005, children with asthma had 12.8 million physician office visits, 1.3 million hospital outpatient visits, and nearly 1.8 million emergency room visits (Cherry et al. 2007). Although a notable increase has occurred in asthma prevalence and morbidity over the past several decades, no explanation has been fully accepted. Some researchers have hypothesized that frequent antibiotic use and decreased exposure to early infections could alter immune balances, which could lead to increased likelihood of asthma onset. This is referred to as the "hygiene hypothesis" (Mattes and Karmaus 1999). Others have proposed that the increase is due to greater exposure to indoor allergens due to changes in lifestyle (Platts-Mills et al. 2000). Another possibility is that increased levels of life stress in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, due to lifestyle changes, have made significant contributions to asthma morbidity through psychobiological and biobehavioral pathways (e.g., compromised adherence).

Nationally, the asthma mortality rate for individuals under age 19 years increased by nearly 80% between 1980 and 1993, although more recent estimates show a plateau (Akinbami 2007; American Lung Association 2009). Asthma deaths have been linked to certain risk factors, including medication nonadherence and inadequate skills in perceiving symptom severity (Alvarez et al. 2005). Stress and depressive emotions also have been posited as direct psychobiological influences in asthma mortality

(B.D. Miller and Strunk 1989; Mitchell et al. 2002; Moss et al. 2003).

Coping with Asthma

Coping with Asthma

If you suffer with asthma, you will no doubt be familiar with the uncomfortable sensations as your bronchial tubes begin to narrow and your muscles around them start to tighten. A sticky mucus known as phlegm begins to produce and increase within your bronchial tubes and you begin to wheeze, cough and struggle to breathe.

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