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Delaware's first Burden of Asthma report was published by the Division of Public Health in 2005. A 2016 update reviews what has happened in the past decade, based on data from the Division and from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.
The decade saw a slight increase in prevalence of "current asthma" among Delaware adults, from 7.5 percent in 2003 to 9.2 percent in 2015, but it was not a statistically significant difference.
The estimated number of Delaware adults with current asthma rose from about 46,000 adults in 2005 to more than 66,600 by 2015. That increase was due in part to increased prevalence, but was largely due to the increase in the state's population.
The prevalence of “current asthma” among adults, both nationally and in Delaware, has remained relatively constant over the past 10 years, since the first Burden of Asthma in Delaware report was published in 2005.
Although the reasons are not completely clear, adult women are more likely to report having been diagnosed with “current asthma” than are adult men.
There is a correlation between adults who report being overweight or obese and a higher prevalence of “current asthma.” Adults who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) considered to be overweight or obese are twice as likely to report currently having asthma.
Adults with disabilities are 2.75 times more likely to have current asthma. Adults with disabilities are also more likely to be overweight or obese, which may partially account for the higher prevalence of asthma.
The prevalence of adult asthma is significantly higher in Wilmington than in suburban New Castle, Kent, or Sussex counties.
The number of asthma hospitalizations and the number of asthma deaths among the state’s African American population is disproportionately high.
Smoking prevalence has decreased significantly among both youth and adults in the past decade, which contributes to a healthier environment for people with asthma. However, the use of e-cigarettes is quickly rising among students, and is a new cause of concern for people with asthma.
The Air Quality Index, which measures a number of pollutants that trigger asthma attacks, has generally been improving in Delaware. However, New Castle County has the most days in categories defined as unhealthy, compared to the other Delaware counties.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology estimates that the total cost of asthma in the United States — including medical expenses, medication, lost work and school days, and costs of premature death — is about $3,300 per person with asthma per year. If that estimate is accurate, the total cost of asthma in Delaware would be more than $200 million a year.
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