2002: America's Asthma 'Hot Spots' Identified
Research Triange Park, NC, October 29, 2002 - A new analysis of the nation's 100 largest metro areas has identified 25 asthma "hot spots" where high prevalence makes the condition a key issue and environmental "triggers" and other factors can make living with asthma a particular challenge.
The rankings - conducted by statistician Bert Sperling, well known for his annual "Best Places" lists - examined local asthma prevalence and mortality data, as well as other factors such as pollen scores, air pollution, asthma prescriptions, smoking laws and the number of asthma specialists. By combining measures of the scope and impact of asthma, as well as data for asthma "triggers" such as air pollution or tobacco smoke, Sperling was able to rank the cities and identify 25 hot spots.
Tucson, Arizona topped the list as the number one asthma hot spot among the metro areas ranked, with Kansas City, Missouri; Phoenix, Arizona; Fresno, California and New York City, New York rounding out the top five.
"Effective asthma management is vital for asthma patients across the country, no matter where they live," said Dr. Anthony Rooklin, Co-Director, Division of Allergy, Crozer Chester Medical Center in Philadelphia. "But people living in these hot spots should pay attention to local conditions or factors that could aggravate their asthma, and make sure that their asthma is properly controlled to minimize the risk of asthma symptoms and attacks."
The rankings were
sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline, maker of Advair Diskus“ (fluticasone
propionate and salmeterol inhalation powder) to raise
awareness about asthma and asthma triggers, and to
encourage people to learn more about how to properly
manage asthma. Sperling's analysis identified the
following metro areas as the nation's 25 asthma hot
"Often, people consider only asthma prevalence or mortality rates to determine where asthma has the greatest impact. But when you look at other data, including environmental factors that can be asthma triggers, a different picture emerges," said Sperling.
According to national asthma management guidelines,1 a key goal of asthma therapy is to prevent symptoms that can restrict activities or otherwise interfere with a person's lifestyle. Unfortunately, however, poorly controlled asthma does negatively impact the lifestyles of many Americans. A landmark asthma survey found that nearly half (48 percent) of all people interviewed said that asthma limited them in sports and recreation, a third (31 percent) said it limited their lifestyle, and one in four (25 percent) said it limited their social activities. 2 A 2001 survey of women with asthma found that 40 percent have had to decline, cancel or interrupt a social event because of their asthma. 3
"Ideally, asthma symptoms should not interfere with people's lifestyles or prevent them from taking advantage of what their city has to offer. Asthma should not disrupt daily routines or get in the way of normal activities," said Dr. Rooklin. "The good news is that today we understand how to manage asthma more effectively and conveniently than ever."
Whether or not a person lives in an asthma hot spot, national treatment guidelines recommend that people with the condition follow these tips for keeping their asthma well controlled:
Yet, for many Americans, asthma remains out of control. On an annual basis, asthma accounts for approximately 5,000 deaths, 4 500,000 hospitalizations, 5 two million emergency department visits, 4 14 million missed school days6 and 14.5 million missed work days. 6 In 2000, asthma cost the U.S. economy an estimated $14 billion. 7
About the Rankings
The criteria used in developing the rankings, listed in the order that they were weighted, were: asthma prevalence, asthma mortality, pollen scores, number of asthma specialists (per 100,000 population base), ratio of prescriptions for rescue medications to prescriptions for controller medications (an indicator of proper asthma treatment), air pollution (both ozone and non-ozone), smoking laws, climate and prevalence of tobacco use. Data about asthma morbidity, such as hospitalization rates or emergency department visits, is not available at the metro or county level and therefore was not able to be included.
Sperling used computer models to perform the calculations based on the experts' ranking and the statistical data for each city. The cities were then ranked, providing a list of asthma hot spots.
The type of analysis used is similar to a "conjoint analysis." To compare each category with the others, each data element for each metro area is assigned a point value on a common scale. The exact formula for calculating point values is complex, using standard deviations and rules developed over the 18 years Sperling has been working in this field. With each category assigned point values on a common scale, the relative status of each place in each category can be compared, weighted, summed and ranked.
Send mail to:
or comments about this web site.
Copyright © 2002-2004 ----- COPD-International.com