The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) is the premier patient organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with asthma and allergies and their caregivers, through education, advocacy and research. AAFA, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1953, provides practical information, community-based services, support and referrals through a national network of chapters and educational support groups. AAFA also sponsors research toward better treatments and a cure for asthma and allergic diseases.
More than an estimated 17 million people in the United States have asthma. This health problem is the reason for nearly half a million hospital stays each year. People with asthma can be of any race, age or sex. Its treatment costs billions of dollars each year. Despite the far reaching effects of asthma, much remains to be learned about what causes it and how to prevent it. Although asthma can cause severe health problems, in most cases treatment can control it and allow a person to live a normal and active life.
Allergies reflect an overreaction of the immune system to substances that usually cause no reaction in most individuals. These substances can trigger sneezing, wheezing, coughing and itching. Allergies are not only bothersome, but many have been linked to a variety of common and serious chronic respiratory illnesses (such as sinusitis and asthma). Additionally, allergic reactions can be severe and even fatal. However, with proper management and patient education, allergic diseases can be controlled, and people with allergies can lead normal and productive lives.
Allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic disease in America with an annual cost exceeding $18 billion. Allergies are believed to complicate and even handicap the lives of nearly 50 million children and adults.