Asthma is a syndrome that results in disability and disruption of regular life patterns. As estimated 8.6 million Americans currently suffer from the disorder (approximately 4% of the population) and a total of 14 million people (or 7% of the population) either have been in the past or presently are handicapped by asthma (Davis, 1972). Compared to heart disease and cancer, asthma does not have a high mortality rate; however, the disorder does account for between 2,000 (Segal, 1976) and 4,000 (Davis, 1972) deaths per year. In addition, the disabling effects of asthma on the lives of its victims can be extensive. In children under the age of 17, asthma is the leading cause of limitation in activity (National Center for Health Statistics, 1971) and accounts for almost a quarter of all days that chronically ill children are absent from school (Schiffer and Hunt, 1963). During 1968, 134,000 hospitalized patients were diagnosed as having asthma and/or hay fever. These patients had an average hospital stay of 8.3 days, costing approximately $62 million (“Figures on expense,” 1971). In addition, Davis (1972) cites research stating that asthma accounts for 5 million days lost from work, 7 million days lost from school, and 27 million patient visits to physicians in one year. The economic costs of asthma are also high. Based on drug industry estimates, Creer (1978) states that in 1975 patients spent $224.2 million for bronchodilators, $24.7 million for corticosteroids, and $43 million for over-the-counter remedies for asthma. With the additional costs of physician and hospital care, Cooper (1976) estimates that the total costs due to asthma in one year, exclusive of mortality, were $1.3 billion.
KeywordsAsthmatic Child Chronic Cough Peak Expiratory Flow Rate Psychosomatic Medicine Maladaptive Behavior
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