*America appears to be undergoing an asthma epidemic. A report released Tuesday shows roughly 25 million Americans – one in every 12 people – have asthma.

The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) covers the period from 2001 to 2009 and reveals that children, especially African American children, are hardest hit by the life-long ailment which causes wheezing, tightness in the chest, coughing and shortness of breath.

Researchers have been unable to identify the reasons; but the largest increase in asthma rates is taking place among Black children who saw a 50 percent rise in the ailment from 2001 to 2009. In fact, as of 2009, 17 percent of all Black children were asthma sufferers. That percentage is the highest rate in the nation.

Indoor smoking had been thought to be a major asthma trigger. But even though the nation is experiencing some success in reducing indoor smoking, asthma is still rising. Asthma triggers are usually environmental, such as tobacco smoke, mold, outdoor air pollution and infections linked to flu, cold-like symptoms, and other viruses.

CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden issued a statement along with the report saying “Asthma is a serious, lifelong disease that unfortunately kills thousands of people each year and adds billions to our nation’s healthcare costs.” (source: Taylor Media Services)