Asthma is a chronic lung disease that causes the airways that carry air into and out of the lungs to become irritated and swollen, which causes less air to flow into the lungs. Symptoms of asthma include reoccurring episodes of wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing at night or early in the morning. When symptoms increase in intensity, it is known as an asthma attack, flare up, or exacerbation. Managing asthma by taking medicine and avoiding triggers that could cause an attack can assist to control asthma. Since asthma is a chronic disease, it can affect everyday activities, such as attendance rates at school or work.
Although the exact cause of asthma is unknown, researchers hypothesize an interaction between genetic and environmental factors cause asthma. There are a number of environmental factors, both indoor and outdoor, that are known to trigger asthma symptoms. The most common outdoor triggers for asthma are air pollution, pollen, and pesticides. Indoor triggers for asthma include mold, dust, secondhand smoke, pet dander, cockroaches and other pests, and strong smells or odors, including perfumes.
One in 10 Louisianans suffers from asthma during his or her lifetime making it one of the biggest health burdens in the state. The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) Tracking Program collects data on the number of hospitalizations and emergency department visits due to asthma. Hospitalizations include the number of people admitted to the hospital, whereas emergency department visits include the number of people admitted to the emergency room.
To explore Asthma data in Louisiana, click here.
Tracking Asthma in Louisiana
The asthma measures on the Health Data Portal were developed following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Standards for Nationally Consistent Data and Measures (NCDMs) within the Environmental Public Health Tracking Network. The purpose of NCDMs is to ensure compatibility and comparability of data and measures useful for understanding the impact of our environment on our health. The LDH Tracking program collects data on the following measures for both hospitalizations and emergency department visits with a primary diagnosis of asthma:
Average Daily Number
For a more detailed description of these measures, please see the Glossary of Terms.