The prevalence of asthma among Americans increased from 7.3 percent, or approximately 20.3 million people, in 2001 to 8.2 percent, or 24.6 million people, in 2009.
Of those living with asthma, prevalence of the disease was greatest in children from low-income families and African-American children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the disease is characterized by the inflammation and narrowing of the airways leading to the lungs. These incidents lead to “wheezing, a whistling sound when you breathe, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing.” The episodes usually take place at night or in the early hours of the morning.
According to the CDC, some 3,388 Americans die asthma-related deaths each year. Approximately 17 million asthma-related visits to doctor’s offices, hospitals, and emergency rooms take place each year, with most admitted patients having to receive care for an average of four days.
The United States Department of Health and Human Service’s National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System found that approximately 695,000 children under age 18 suffered some type of abuse or neglect in 2010
Among children who had crimes against them reported to Child Protective Services, 22 percent were African-American.