Asthma is one of the most common chronic illnesses in the world. Here’s some facts and figures about the oft-suffered-from respiratory illness:

– Between 7 and 10% of all people in the United States (both adults and children) suffer from asthma. The statistics are similar in the United Kingdom.

– It is estimated that asthma affects over 300 million people worldwide, in total. This is the rate in developed countries only.

– In the United Kingdom, over 74,000 hospitalisations occur due to asthma or asthma-related illnesses every year. In the United States, the figure is over 200,000. The difference is due to the relative population size of each country – the percentage remains largely the same.

– In 2006, just over 3,500 people in the United States died of asthma or asthma-related conditions. In the UK, the figure is just over 1,000. Again, the difference is attributed to population size.

– In nearly 90% of those deaths, however, it was recorded that the outcome may have been different if the patient or doctor dealing with the attack had attack differently (usually sooner).

– Asthma costs the UK National Heath Service around £800 million per year (over $1 billion).

– In 2006, there was a total of 10.6 million visits to see a doctor / hospital physician concerning asthma in the United States. This includes repeat visits from the same patient.

– 42% of asthma sufferers, when quizzed in a UK survey, said they avoided polluted areas such as city centres wherever possible – for fear it may trigger their asthma.

• Sources for statistics include the British Lung Foundation and Action Asthma.