The latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has shown that hospitalizations of children principally for asthma fell by almost 60,000 between 1997 and 2006.
However, the number of children who are admitted to hospitals to treat other conditions but who also have asthma rose by nearly 70,000 during the same period.
In 2006, there were 335,000 hospital stays for children with asthma. In 137,000 cases, the children were admitted specifically to treat asthma. In the remaining 197,000 cases the children had asthma but were being treated for another illness which is often directly related to asthma (for instance, pneumonia or bronchitis).
AHRQ also found that:
- Children from poorer communities, where the average income was
less than $37,000 a year, were 76 percent more likely to be admitted than
those from wealthier communities, where the average income was greater
than $37,000 a year (2.7 admissions per 1,000 children versus 1.5
admissions per 1,000 children, respectively).
- Poor children with asthma as a co-existing illness were 54
percent more likely to be hospitalized than children from wealthier
communities (3.5 admissions per 1,000 children versus 2.3 admissions per
1,000 children, respectively).
- Infants under 1 year of age were four times more likely to be
hospitalized for asthma than children ages 15 to 17 (5.1 admissions per
1,000 children compared with 1.8 admissions per 1,000 children).
- Roughly 27 percent of all children admitted for pneumonia also
had asthma, as did 9 percent of those hospitalized for acute bronchitis;
and 5 percent for depression or bipolar disease.
Asthma is the most common chronic disorder in children. Attacks, usually characterized by shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, chest pain, anxiety or panic, can be triggered by a wide range of causes including cigarette smoke, animal hair, colds, and allergies. Asthma is usually managed by office doctors but when the disease gets out of control,
hospitalization is necessary.