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STUDY SAYS ASTHMA ACCOUNTS FOR 1% OF ALL HEALTH-CARE EXPENSES IN U.S.

Asthma costs Americans $6.2 billion a year and accounts for nearly 1 percent of all health-care expenses, a study shows.

The study found that inpatient hospital costs were the single biggest item, totaling about $1.6 billion."This study demonstrates the potential of effective intervention programs to reduce the costs of asthma greatly," the researchers wrote.

Asthma is extremely common, affecting between 9 million and 12 million Americans.

The cost analysis was conducted by Dr. Kevin B. Weiss and colleagues from George Washington University. It was based on figures gathered by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Among the asthma cost findings, published in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine:

- Medicines cost $1.1 billion.

- Work lost is worth $345 million, and lost school time is valued at $900 million.

- Emergency room visits cost $295 million.