Epidemiology of Asthma: Prevalence and Burden of Disease

  • Sharon CroisantEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 795)


While clinical guidelines clearly define mechanisms for asthma diagnosis based upon history, lung function testing, symptoms, and physical examination, surveillance for asthma is much less straightforward. Epidemiologists have long debated the best means of assessing the scope and burden of asthma, seeking to reduce the potential for confounding introduced by differential means of diagnosis and even slight differences in surveillance questions, both of which can bias surveillance results such that we over- or undercount cases. This chapter will provide an overview of asthma epidemiology in the USA and internationally, as well as review of the data and findings from the major surveillance systems, a discussion of a networked approach to the science and evaluation of therapeutic treatments using the exemplar of the Inner-City Asthma Network, and assessment of public health implications.


Clinical guidelines Epidemiology Surveillance Asthma prevalence Public health 


  1. Akinbami LJ, Moorman JE, Bailey C et al (2012a) Trends in asthma prevalence, health care use, and mortality in the United States, 2001–2010. NCHS data brief, no 94. National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MDGoogle Scholar
  2. Akinbami LJ, Moorman JE, Liu, X (2012) Asthma prevalence, health care use, and mortality: United States, 2005–2009. National Health Statistics Reports, no 32. National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MDGoogle Scholar
  3. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Asthma facts and figures. Available at Accessed 15 Sept 12
  4. BedirhanÜstün T, Chatterji S, Mechbal A, Murray C, WHS Collaborating Groups (2003) Health systems performance assessment: debates, methods and empiricism. In: Murray C, Evans D (eds) The world health surveys. Health systems performance assessment: debates, methods and empiricism. World Health Organization, Geneva, pp 797–808Google Scholar
  5. Busse WW (2010) The national institutes of allergy and infectious diseases networks on asthma in inner-city children: an approach to improved care. J Allergy Clin Immunol 125(3):529–537PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. CDC (2001) Updated guidelines for evaluating public health surveillance systems. Accessed 28 Aug 12
  7. CDC (2011) Asthma in the US: growing every year. CDC vital signsGoogle Scholar
  8. CDC (2012) Asthma Surveillance Data. Available at: Accessed 20 Sept 12
  9. CDC, National Asthma Control Program (2012) Asthma’s Impact on the Nation. Available at: Accessed 20 Sept 12
  10. Cloutier MM et al (2005) Use of asthma guidelines by primary care providers to reduce hospitalizations and emergency department visits in poor, minority, urban children. J Pediatr 146:591–597PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. European Community Respiratory Health Survey (2012) Accessed 20 Sept 2012
  12. GINA (2002) Global strategy for asthma management and prevention. National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  13. Gorina Y (2012) QuickStats: asthma* death rates, by race and age group—United States, 2007–2009. MMWR 61(17):315Google Scholar
  14. ISAAC (2012) Accessed 9 Sept 12
  15. Masoli M, Fabian D, Holt S, Beasley R (2004) Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) Program: The global burden of asthma: executive summary of the GINA Dissemination Committee report. Allergy 59(5):469–478Google Scholar
  16. Moorman JE, Zahran HS, Truman BI, Molla MT (2011) Division of environmental hazards and health effects, national center for environmental health, CDC. Current asthma prevalence—United States, 2006–2008. MMWR 60(Suppl):84–86PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (2007) Expert Panel Report 3: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma. Bethesda, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, NHLBI, 2007. Available at Accessed 26 Sept 12
  18. Petronella SA, Bricker S, Brown C, Perrotta D, Brooks EG (2006) Addressing asthma in Texas: development of a school-based asthma surveillance program for Texas elementary schools: report of findings. J Sch Health 76(6):227–234PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Petronella SA, Ellis KC (2003) Asthma epidemiology, case finding and the role of asthma coalitions. Nurs Clin North Am 38:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Schiller JS, Lucas JW, Ward BW, Peregoy JA (2012) Summary health statistics for U.S. adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2010. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 10(252)Google Scholar
  21. Szefler SJ, Gergen PJ, Mitchell H, Morgan W (2010) Achieving asthma control in the inner city: do the National Institutes of Health Asthma Guidelines really work? J Allergy Clin Immunol 125:521–526PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. To T, Stanojevic S, Moores G, Gershon AS, Bateman ED, Cruz AA, Boulet L-P (2012) Global asthma prevalence in adults: findings from the cross-sectional world health survey. BMC Public Health 12:204PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. World Health Organization (2007) Global surveillance, prevention and control of chronic respiratory diseases: a comprehensive approachGoogle Scholar
  24. Zahran HS, Bailey C, Garbe P (2011) Division of environmental hazards and health effects, National Center for Environmental Health, CDC. Vital signs: asthma prevalence, disease characteristics, and self-management education—United States, 2001—2009. MMWR 60(17):547–552Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA

Personalised recommendations