Placeholder Banner

May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

May 4, 2016
Each year, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) works with public and private sector partners to designate May as Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. Asthma and allergies are among the most common chronic conditions, affecting millions of Americans from a wide range of demographics – across all ages, genders, ethnicities, and socioeconomic statuses. During the month-long awareness event, we focus on providing education and increasing knowledge to help improve the quality of life for those with asthma and allergies.

AAAM2016There is no cure available to the 24 million[1] Americans with asthma, or the 50 million[2] with allergies. It is estimated that 15% to 20% of US children and adolescents are currently impacted by chronic disease, with asthma and food allergy among the most widespread.[3] [4]  Asthma is the single most common chronic condition among children in the U.S., impacting 1 in 11 children (almost 7 million children). [5] Pediatric food allergies impact 1 in 13 children in the U.S. (over 5 million children), with over 30% of food-allergic children experiencing multiple food allergies.[6] More than 7.4 million children reported respiratory allergies in the past 12 months.[7] Additionally, there is a higher burden of disease and more challenges related to access to quality care among minority and socioeconomically disadvantaged populations with asthma and allergies.[8] [9] [10]

Individuals with these chronic diseases need to protect their health by managing multiple behavioral, socioeconomic and environmental factors that can trigger or exacerbate their symptoms or disease. People with these conditions must also adhere to a regimen of medications to keep their conditions well-controlled.  [11]There are also ongoing, significant and increasing financial burdens for individuals living with asthma and allergies, including increasing out-of-pocket costs associated with diagnosis, care, medications, treatment, trigger avoidance, and in the case of food allergies, additional and increased costs for safe, allergen-free food. [12]

During Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, AAFA is providing information and education to help raise awareness for these chronic conditions that impact so many Americans and to help ensure that allergic diseases and asthma remain a public health priority. We are partnering with Research!America, AcademyHealth and other organizations to host a Congressional briefing on May 13th, From Discovery to Delivery: Research at Work Against Asthma and Allergies. The discussion will explore the “process behind progress” in the fight against asthma and allergies.

Patients are critical members of the healthcare, research and policy making team.  Solving the challenges and problems of living with asthma and allergies requires active engagement of patients, families, and caregivers. AAFA recognizes the importance of patient-reported, “real world data” and is preparing for the launch of our patient-focused registries. The registries will help us develop a deeper understanding about the issues that matter most to people with asthma and allergies. We believe that patient-reported data will help improve the health and health care for people with asthma and allergies, and stimulate and inform research from the patients’ perspectives. [13] [14]

Asthma and Allergy Awareness month is an opportune time to refocus attention on the need for additional research and evidence to help patients with these life-threatening diseases make healthcare decisions and to remind the community that chronic diseases such as asthma and allergies are a major national public health concern. For a list of other Asthma and Allergy Awareness events in May 2016, visit our website.

AAFA, a non-profit 501c3, organization, is the oldest asthma and allergy patient group in the world and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with asthma and allergic diseases through education, advocacy, and research. AAFA provides practical information, evidence-based resources[15]  [16]  [17]on asthma and allergies and their treatments, education, advocacy, community-based services, support and referrals through a national network of chapters and educational support groups. AAFA’s Kids With Food Allergies Division focuses on providing support and resources for individuals and families affected by food allergies.
-----------------------------------------------

[1] http://www.cdc.gov/asthma/most_recent_data.htm

[2] http://www.cdc.gov/healthcommunication/ToolsTemplates/
EntertainmentEd/Tips/Allergies.html


[3] Cohen, E., Kuo, D.Z., Agrawal, R., Berry, J.G., Bhagat, S.K.M., Simon, T.D. & Srivastava, R. Children with medical complexity: An emerging population for clinical and research initiatives, Pediatrics, 2011:127:529-538.

[4] Van Cleave, J., Gortmaker, S., & Perrin, J. Dynamics of obesity and chronic health conditions among children and youth. JAMA, 2010;303:623-630.

[5] Asthma’s Impact on the Nation: Data from the CDC National Asthma Control Program. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2015. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/asthma/impacts_nation/AsthmaFactSheet.pdf.

[6] Gupta RS, Springston EE, Warrier MR, The prevalence, severity, and distribution of childhood food allergy in the United States. Pediatrics. 2011; 128(1):e9--17.

[7] http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/allergies.htm

[8] https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-08/documents/federal_asthma_disparities_action_plan.pdf

[9] https://innovations.ahrq.gov/perspectives/public-and-private-sector-
initiatives-are-reducing-health-disparities- among-children


[10] http://www.aafa.org/media/Ethnic-Disparities-Burden-Treatment-Asthma-Report.pdf

[11] http://catalyst.phrma.org/burden-on-patients-5-questions-on-access-to-asthma-medicines-in-health-exchange-plans

[12] http://www.aafa.org/page/cost-of-asthma-on-society.aspx

[13] Bloomrosen M, Sennett C Patient engagement: challenges and opportunities for physicians. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2015 Dec;115(6):459-62. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2015.09.005. Epub 2015 Oct 6.

[14] Gupta R, Holdford D, Bilaver L, Dyer A, Holl JL, Meltzer D. The economic impact of childhood food allergy in the United States. JAMA Pediatr. 2013 Nov;167(11):1026-31. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.2376.

[15] http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-pro/guidelines/current/asthma-guidelines

[16] http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/foodAllergy/clinical/Pages/
default.aspx


[17] http://www.thecommunityguide.org/asthma/index.html