Asthma is a chronic lung condition characterized by difficulty in breathing. People with asthma have extra sensitive or hyperresponsive airways. The airways react by narrowing or obstructing when they become irritated. This makes it difficult for the air to move in and out. This narrowing or obstruction can cause wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and chest tightness.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), asthma has become increasingly common in Colorado. Currently Colorado has the second highest estimated prevalence of asthma of any state in the nation with an estimated 7.1 percent of the population believed to have the disease. Colorado's children (ages 1-15) appear to be the hardest hit age group.
Nationally, the number of children with asthma more than doubled between 1980 and 1995, with rates for children under five years old increasing more than 160 percent during that period. Asthma is one of the leading causes of school absenteeism, accounting for an estimated 10 million missed school days per year nationally.
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