Asthma rates have been soaring around the world and specifically in the US for years. But now, a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there’s been a major drop in the percentage of Americans with asthma, from 8.6% in 2012 all the way down to 7.4% in 2013. That’s the lowest reported asthma percentage in a decade and would represent a decline of more than 3 million people.
Many experts find this hard to believe, including those who conducted the study. The study’s lead author Jeannine Schiller said, “I wouldn’t say it’s good news-- yet.”
The experts don’t have any explanation for why the study results would be inaccurate, or why asthma rates would have suddenly declined. Schiller says it’s possible the decline is just “an unexplained statistical blip.” She’s waiting to see the numbers from next year’s survey before she’ll claim that asthma rates are actually dropping.
The survey was conducted via in-person interviews and looked at over 47,000 American adults and children. The sharpest decline in asthma rates was among black women and children.
The number of people who had an asthma attack within the last year also declined significantly from 4.4% to 3.8%, making it the lowest asthma attack rate in over 15 years. Experts had an explanation for this decline however-- through better education and access to medication, inhalers, and nebulizers, patients today are better able to control and prevent asthma attacks. In fact, this number has been on the decline for several years.
Next year’s survey will give more insight into whether overall asthma rates are actually on the decline. Even though there’s no explanation for why that would be the case, let’s hope it is.