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Asthma/Respiratory

Asthma

Asthma is a chronic condition of the lungs in which the air passages become inflamed making it hard to breathe. During an asthma attack (also called an asthma exacerbation), the airways become narrow, making breathing difficult. Asthma attacks can vary in severity. Symptoms may include coughing, wheezing or chest tightness. Asthma cannot be cured but it can be managed with medication, behavioral changes and avoiding triggers.

Asthma attacks usually begin with an exposure to a trigger (usually an external allergen or irritant) that causes the airways to react. Asthma triggers vary from person to person, but some common triggers include: dust mites, pollen, strong fragrances, chemicals like household cleaning products, secondhand smoke, mold, strenuous exercise, strong emotions, stress, pets and cockroaches.

COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) refers to a group of lung diseases that cause airflow blockages and breathing problems. The most common lung conditions in COPD include emphysema and chronic bronchitis. COPD is a progressive disease, meaning it gets worse over time. Symptoms include frequent coughing or wheezing, excess phlegm, mucus or sputum production, shortness of breath and trouble taking a deep breath. People with COPD have a higher risk of developing respiratory infections such as colds, pneumonia and the flu. There is no cure for COPD, but it can be treated.

Asthma

The CDC National Asthma Control Program reports that 1 in 13 persons (or over 25 million Americans) have asthma. In 2016, there were 1.77 million emergency department visits and 3,564 deaths due to asthma across the United States. A 2018 CDC study estimates that asthma costs the US economy more than $80 billion annually in medical expenses, days missed from work and school, and deaths.

COPD

COPD plays a large role in death and disability in the United States; in 2016, it was the fourth leading cause of death. Approximately 16 million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD. COPD cannot be cured and it gets progressively worse over time, resulting in major long-term disability. Treatment is necessary in order to reduce the symptoms and help slow down its progression. Treatment can include medicine, surgery, and oxygen therapy. COPD can also lead to other health issues such as heart disease, lung cancer, and high blood pressure. US COPD-attributable health care costs were $32.1 billion in 2010 with a projected increase to $49.0 billion by 2020.

Asthma

In 2017, 17.1% of Hawaii adults reported ever being diagnosed with asthma. Nationally, 9.4% of adults reported current asthma which was similar to 9.8% of Hawaii adults with current asthma. In Hawaii, women were twice as likely as men to report current asthma (13.0% vs 6.6%) and current asthma ranged by age from 10.9% among 18-24 year olds to 7.1% among those 75 years and older. Native Hawaiians were the most likely to report current asthma (14.3%) and Chinese were the least likely at 7.3%. Kauai County had the lowest prevalence of current asthma at 8.1% and Maui County had the highest at 10.9% but these county differences were not statistically significant.

COPD

In 2017, 5.7% of Hawaii adults 45 years or older reported that they had been diagnosed with COPD. Review of data from 2013-2017, showed that men and women were equally likely to report COPD. COPD prevalence increases significantly with age from 3.8% among 45-54 year olds to 8.1% among those 75 years and older. Prevalence was significantly higher in Hawaii County (7.6%) than Honolulu and Maui Counties (5.6% and 5.2%, respectively).

Asthma

There are many factors that influence the risk of developing asthma. The CDC reports the following risk factors:
  • Sex: Males are more likely to have asthma as children; however, females are more likely to have asthma as adults.
  • Age: Young adults ages 18-24 are more likely to have asthma when compared with older adults.
  • Race and ethnicity: Native Hawaiians are twice as likely to have asthma as Caucasians. Native Alaskans/American Indians and Others are also at increased risk.
  • Education: Adults who did not graduate high school have a higher risk than adults who did graduate high school or college.
  • Income: People with incomes below $50,000 per year are more likely to have asthma than those who have greater incomes.
  • Behavior: Smoking increases the risk of asthma as does obesity.

COPD

Risk factors for COPD include the following:
  • Smoking: Tobacco smoke is the greatest risk factor in developing COPD. The best way to prevent COPD is to not smoke or to stop smoking if you already do so.
  • Secondhand smoke: Secondhand smoke is the smoke that comes from someone else's burning and smoking of tobacco products. Secondhand smoke can also increase the risk of COPD.
  • Asthma: People with asthma, or who have had asthma, may have an increased risk of developing COPD.
  • Genetics: Some people may have a rare genetic mutation called alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, which may cause COPD.
  • Workplace exposure: People who work in certain settings may be exposed more frequently to chemicals, dust, or other irritants that can harm the lungs.

Asthma

Although there is no cure, it is possible to reduce the risk of severe complications, hospitalizations, and death caused by asthma by properly taking prescribed medication and knowing possible triggers. When you know what triggers your asthma, you can take preventive action to avoid triggers and prevent asthma attacks.

Once you are diagnosed with asthma, your healthcare provider will advise you on proper management. Asthma can usually be managed in an outpatient setting, reducing the need for emergency department visits. Effective management includes control of exposures to factors that trigger exacerbations, using medicine as prescribed, monitoring the disease, and patient education in asthma care.

People who work in school-based health centers may be able to help children manage their asthma. This includes helping reduce exposures to environmental asthma triggers, education, case management, improving indoor air quality, improving students' home environments, and improving outdoor air quality around the school and community. The Public Health Institute developed a guide for school-based health centers. For more information see the Asthma Environmental Intervention Guide for School-Based Health Centers.

COPD

There are many things you can do to prevent COPD:
  • The best way to prevent COPD is to quit smoking. Even if you have already been diagnosed with COPD, quitting smoking can improve symptoms and possibly avoid worse complications.
  • Avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Avoid other air pollutants and irritants. Use personal protective gear at work to limit your exposure to lung irritants and chemicals.
  • Prevent and treat lung infections. Certain vaccines, like the flu vaccine and pneumonia immunizations, are important in preventing chronic lung infections. Current respiratory infections should be treated with antibiotics if possible.

If COPD can be caught and diagnosed early, treatment can begin earlier before progression worsens.

Asthma

Asthma surveillance data includes collection of asthma data at both the national and the state level. National data is available on asthma prevalence, activity limitation, days of work or school lost, rescue and control medication use, asthma self-management education, physician visits, emergency department visits, hospitalizations due to asthma, and deaths due to asthma from National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) surveys and the Vital Statistics System. Asthma surveillance data at the state level include adult and child asthma prevalence from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and in-depth state and local asthma data through implementation of the BRFSS Asthma Call-back Survey (ACBS). Asthma prevalence has been included in the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) since 2013.

COPD

COPD mortality data is available through the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Nationally, COPD is included in the National Health Interview Survey, and COPD prevalence is assessed in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) every year.

The information provided above is from the Hawaii Health Data Warehouse and the Hawaii State Department of Health's Hawaii-IBIS web site (http://ibis.hhdw.org/ibisph-view.). The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Thu, 28 May 2020 18:35:44 from Hawaii State Department of Health, Hawaii Health Data Warehouse, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: http://ibis.hhdw.org/ibisph-view ".

Content updated: Thu, 22 Aug 2019 06:05:40 HST