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Salt Lake Ranks 33rd in Worst Places for Asthma Sufferers

Salt Lake Ranks 33rd in Worst Places for Asthma Sufferers

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Gene Kennedy ReportingSalt Lake City finds itself on a dubious list this morning. It is in the top third of the worst places for asthma sufferers to live.

Salt Lake is high on the list because of high pollen count and poor air quality. Plus, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America says Salt Lake didn't rank well on other risk factors, like public smoking laws and uninsured rates. However, Salt Lake did get credit for having a large number of asthma specialists.

Dr. Alan Bitner, of the Intermountain Allergy and Asthma Clinic, says where asthma sufferers live is important, but there's more to it than that.

"There's probably not a major metropolitan area you could go to that's not on that list," he said. "So the emphasis is to evaluate people, make their diagnosis, get them on proper treatment and arrange for proper follow-up so they can go on and lead a normal life no matter where they live."

Asthma Health Concern

- 4,000+ asthma-related deaths.
- 1.8 million ER visits.
- $14 million in medical expenses.
- 14 million missed school days.
- 14.5 million missed work days.

Dr. Bitner says asthma is often underemphasized as a diagnosis. That's a scary thought considering there are more than 2,000,000 asthma-related emergency rooms visits and more than 4,000 asthma-related deaths each year.

Asthma also is the leading cause of absenteeism from school and leads to 14.5 million missed days of work. Dr. Bitner says it's important to get on top of asthma while the patient is young.

Top 2007 Asthma Capitals

1. Atlanta
2. Philadelphia
3. Raleigh, N.C.
4. Knoxville, Tenn.
5. Harrisburg, Pa.

33. Salt Lake City

88. Boise

While Salt Lake ranks 33rd, Atlanta tops the list of asthma capitals. It's followed by Philadelphia, Raleigh, N.C., and Knoxville, Tenn.

Boise ranked well, at 88th overall.

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