Officials from the Centers for Disease Control released a report today identifying another increase in asthma rates across the country.
They looked at data from 2009 and pegged the rate at 8.2%. That's up from 7.8% in 2008.
The report says the rate has grown, on average, by 1.2% since 2001.
A Los Angeles Times report says improvements in identifying the disease could account for some of the increase:
Better diagnostic efforts could be part of the reason for the increase. They were believed to be a main reason for an increase in asthma seen from 1980 through 1995, said Dr. Lara Akinbami, a medical officer at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.
The asthma rate in the Midwest is higher than the national average at 8.8% (that's more than 6 million asthma sufferers in the region).
The northeast has the highest rate at 9.9%.
Blacks, Puerto Ricans, and those living below the poverty level have higher than average rates as well (all higher than 11%).
A report from the European Respiratory Journal says asthma is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
The CDC say sufferers of asthma are more at risk when these triggers are present:
- tobacco smoke
- dust mites
- outdoor air pollution
- cockroach allergen
- and other things like colds, viruses, chemicals, and strenuous exercise