; Texas Asthma Cases And Costs Increase As Awareness Month Approaches
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Press Release

Texas Asthma Cases And Costs Increase As Awareness Month Approaches

Six Texas communities rank among the Top 50 Worst Places for allergies in the country

May 4, 2012

RICHARDSON – New data from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) shows medical claims related to asthma are on the rise as we head into “Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month” this May.  In addition, a new report by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) says six Texas communities are among the top fifty worst places in the country for allergies – which worsen the impact of asthma symptoms.

“Asthma, episodically, makes breathing very difficult, and while it can be treated, there is no cure,” says Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, chief medical officer for BCBSTX.  “Last year we processed about 6-thousand more asthma-related claims than the year before – not only affecting the well-being of our members but costing approximately $10 million more dollars in medical costs that might be reduced with better treatment.”

Asthma now affects one out of every 12 people in Texas.  In addition to health challenges, the Texas Department of State Health Services says asthma also carries significant social and economic burdens:

  • One third of asthma-affected Texans miss work at least one day a year because of their condition.
  • One third of Texans with asthma have trouble sleeping and more than 11 percent have had trouble sleeping five nights in a row or more.
  • Children (ages 0-4) with asthma are admitted to the hospital 2-8 times more than adults with asthma.

“Asthma can be even more dangerous for those of us who live in areas with many allergens,” says Laura Steves, executive director of AAFA’s Texas Chapter. “Unfortunately for Texans, many of our high-risk communities appear to be getting worse.” 

Top Asthma Capitals

2012 Rank

2011 Rank

Memphis, TN

1

3

McAllen

9

25

San Antonio

12

22

El Paso

45

50

Houston

62

64

Dallas

71

34

Austin

94

94

The good news is that the Centers for Disease Control says national hospitalization rates related to asthma were down by 14 percent last year.  Through its public service website, Be Smart. Be Well, BCBSTX has video testimonials and tips to help people in Texas – especially children.

“Triggers are the things that cause asthma symptoms and make breathing difficult,” says Barbara Kaplan, director of asthma programs for the American Lung Association, in one video.  “Some of the most common indoor asthma triggers include second-hand smoke, dust mites, mold, cockroaches, household pets, and even fuel-burning appliances.”

Because they are the most susceptible and blood tests do not identify the disease, parents are encouraged to talk to a pediatrician if they think their child may have asthma.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas -- the only statewide, customer-owned health insurer in Texas – is the largest provider of health benefits in the state, working with nearly 40,000 physicians and 400 hospitals to serve 4.8 million members in all 254 counties.  Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas is a Division of Health Care Service Corporation (which operates Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in Texas, Illinois, Oklahoma and New Mexico), the country’s largest customer-owned health insurer and fourth largest health insurer overall.  Health Care Service Corporation is a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. 

BCBSTX.com | Twitter.com/BCBSTX | Facebook.com/BlueCrossBlueShieldOfTexas | YouTube.com/BCBSTX

About Be Smart. Be Well.
Be Smart. Be Well. is a free resource available to the general public. The goal of the site is to help all of us stay healthier and safer through increased awareness and simple-to-use knowledge. Additional topic centers posted on Be Smart. Be Well. include managing pregnancy risks, childhood obesity, caregiving, mental health, drug safety, traumatic brain injury (TBI), sexually transmitted disease, and domestic violence.

BeSmartBeWell.com | Facebook.com/BeSmartBeWell | Twitter.com/BSBW | YouTube.com/BeSmartBeWell

 

 

 

 

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 37 independent, community-based and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 105 million members – one-in-three Americans.  For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.