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Medical News and Perspectives |

Why the Rise in Asthma? New Insight, Few Answers

Mike Mitka
JAMA. 1999;281(23):2171-2172. doi:10.1001/jama.281.23.2171a.
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San Diego—As the prevalence of asthma increases, the medical community continues to seek causes and treatment and prevention strategies.

Asthma was a key topic at the 1999 International Conference of the American Lung Association and American Thoracic Society, held here in April, which had more than 16,000 attendees, including more than 6400 from outside the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that in 1998, approximately 17,299,000 people in the United States, or 6.4% of the population, self-reported having asthma. The CDC also noted that between 1980 and 1994, the number of people self-reporting asthma grew 75%. And it's not just a US problem—speakers said that asthma prevalence is increasing in many of the richer industrialized countries, although it disproportionately affects more in the poor communities of these nations.

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