• In 1990, the estimated cost of asthma-related illness was $6.2 billion.

  • Some cases of asthma that require emergency care can be traced to poor control of home allergens.

  • With proper medical care and education, asthma can be controlled in the great majority of cases.

Figures 5, 6, and 7 show recent trends in asthma prevalence, mortality, and hospitalization rates, respectively.

Other allergic diseases related to indoor exposures, such as allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis and hypersensitivity pneumonitis, occur less frequently than allergic rhinitis and asthma, but are often severe and difficult to control. A role for indoor allergens has also been suggested in chronic sinusitis and bronchitis, sick building syndrome, and other nonspecific syndromes, as well as in acute respiratory illness.

The economic and social impacts of allergic disease in the United States are significant. The persistence of allergy-related symptoms and the occurrence of complications, such as otitis media and sinusitis, result in an overall increase in the number of physician visits and the use of medications.

FIGURE 5 Trends in Asthma Prevalence. Source: NHLBI, 1991.

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