Incidence and Impact

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways, which has implications for the diagnosis, management, and potential prevention of the disease. Airway inflammation contributes to airway hyper-responsiveness, airflow limitation, respiratory symptoms, and disease chronicity. Persistent changes in airway structures may occur, including sub-basement fibrosis, mucus hyper-secretion, injury to epithelial cells, smooth muscle hypertrophy, and angiogenesis.7

As of 2010, more than 25 million people in the United States have asthma. Seven million of these asthma patients are children.31 Most individuals with asthma will have at least one asthma attack per year. Overall asthma accounts for more than 10 million missed work days and almost 13 million missed school days each year. Additionally, there are ethnic and racial disparities in asthma morbidity and mortality, including the disproportionate burden of asthma on lower-income, inner-city residents.8

The current evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for asthma have provided increased benefits.8 Yet, many clinicians have not fully implemented the guidelines-based care for their patients with asthma. Likewise patients have not always complied with recommended treatment plans. As a result, optimum asthma care remains a goal to be achieved.

The National Asthma Control Initiative (NACI) is an initiative of the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP), coordinated by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The NACI aims to use the recommendations of the NAEPP’s Expert Panel Report 3 (EPR-3) Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma and its companion Guidelines Implementation Panel (GIP) Report to educate and motivate meaningful change in asthma clinical care practices and quality of life for people who have asthma.8