Breaking Down the Cost of Asthma

Asthma career cost measured economic burden in riverside and long beach communities

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) How much does asthma really cost? A new study is breaking down the cost of living next to a busy road and asthma.

Asthma cost the communities of Long Beach and Riverside close to $18 million dollars, according to a new study. Both communities are residential but are located near busy roads. Highlighting the cost of asthma in a high traffic community could lead to new measures to help reduce the economic cost for asthma sufferers.

Ask your doctor about any public asthma programs.

The study was led by Dr. Sylvia Brandt from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The California communities of Long Beach and Riverside were chosen because of their high levels of air pollution.

The researchers used an “asthma career cost” which factored in the number of asthma cases related to air pollution, surveys examining the number of health care visits, other diseases related to asthma and cost of medication.

The asthma career cost measures the lifelong cost of asthma. Asthma career cost also factored in doctor visits, average wage of parents, the average cost of health care and the number of school days missed.

Other studies have focused on the risks caused by living in a high traffic area but never considered the cost of asthma.

Out of the $18 million cost, close to nine million dollars was associated with new asthma cases. The average annual cost of asthma was between seven and eight percent of the household income.

According to the study, in order for health care to not be a burden on the household, the cost of healthcare should be around five percent of the annual household income.

The average household income of Riverside was $66,923 which means asthma would cost a household between $4,684.61 to $5,353.84 a year. The average household income of Long Beach was $51,768 and asthma would cost between $3,623.76 and $4,141.44 a year.

The asthma career cost can be an effective way to determine the burden of asthma. The model can be applied to any city easily. By understanding the cost of asthma, cities and states can take steps to reduce the economic burden. This could include programs for asthma sufferers near busy roads. 

Funding information was not provided. No author conflicts were published.

This study was published in the January edition of the European Respiratory Journal.

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Review Date: 
January 25, 2012
Last Updated:
January 25, 2012