| Things to think about
is the leading cause of school
days missed due to illness.
· With good medical
management, many asthma attacks can be prevented and should
not require hospitalization.
· Asthma afflicts our
children, racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, and those
of us who already have other respiratory illnesses more than
other New Jerseyans.
Note: In the 1999 Sustainable State Project
Report, the chart was labeled "Asthma" but included admissions
due to both asthma and bronchitis. This report includes only
is believed to be caused in part by poor air quality. Moreover,
asthma is an indicator of environmental conditions that can
cause a host of other serious respiratory ailments. It is a
leading indicator of health care costs and reduced economic
productivity as well as of human suffering.
rates increase health care costs. When their symptoms become
severe, asthmatics are also sometimes unable to work, and so
part of their productivity is lost as well.
The amount of suffering from
asthma is a proxy measurement for local air quality conditions,
and those conditions can trigger other respiratory ailments.
Air quality is an interesting indicator because it is caused
by many environmental problems such as automobile emissions,
electricity generation, open space destruction, and pollution
from manufacturing. These connections tie public health to related
issues such as environmental quality, vehicle miles traveled,
ridership of mass transit, and economic productivity.
simple ability to go out and play, or walk around and be neighborly,
is a pillar of our civil lives. But asthma keeps some of us
inside, especially on hot summer days when air quality is poor.
We do not
fully understand the triggers of asthma. To combat the disease
it is essential to know the interactions between the host of
potential causes. In 1996, asthma was the tenth most common
diagnosis nationally in hospital emergency rooms. We are not
yet able to track emergency room visits in New Jersey, but it
is probable that asthma is one of the most frequent diagnoses.
Hospitalizations are only a proxy for asthma incidents. Asthma
incidents may vary, yet not be fully reflected in the number
of hospital visits.
Source: NJ Department of Health & Senior Services