Nation's Emergency Physicians to Public: Asthma Emergencies Are Preventable

Mar 07, 2011, 10:40 ET from American College of Emergency Physicians

Warning Comes as U.S. Asthma Rate Climbs to Nearly 25 Million

WASHINGTON, March 7, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Asthma kills thousands of people in the United States each year.  Millions more suffer from the disease and that number is on the rise. The nation's emergency physicians treat asthma sufferers on a daily basis, and they are urging people to know and respond to the basic symptoms before asthma progresses to a life-threatening situation.


"Each day, thousands of people end up in the ER because of poorly controlled asthma," said Dr. Sandra Schneider, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). "Many don't understand that asthma is a chronic condition that needs to be managed regularly."

This is a disease that affects your lungs, causing difficulty breathing, chest tightness, wheezing and coughing.  Certain triggers can make the condition even worse.

  • Smoke
  • Dust mites, pollen and mold
  • Perfume or scented soap
  • Respiratory infections
  • Extreme weather conditions

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 25 million people in the United States have asthma.  That number has tripled in the past 30 years.  There were also 17.5 million ER visits because of asthma in 2007.  

ACEP wants to help Americans recognize the warning signs that can help them avoid an asthma emergency.

  • Waking at night wheezing and/or coughing
  • Requiring a quick-relief inhaler more than twice a week
  • Missing school or work because of breathing-related issues
  • Having consistent breathing problems while exercising or being physically active
  • Being unable to participate in everyday activities
  • Requiring emergency or urgent care

Parents need to pay particularly close attention to their children and recognize the warning signs early.  According to the CDC, 7.1 million children currently have asthma.  That's nearly 10 percent of all children.  17 percent of kids who are seen in the ER are there for an asthmatic episode.

"It's a serious disease but it's treatable," said Dr. Schneider.  "If you consult with your doctor and manage it properly, your chances of needing to visit the emergency department in the future because of it will go down."

For more information on asthma or other health-related topic, please go to

ACEP is a national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies.  

SOURCE American College of Emergency Physicians