Health Notes: Carlton County asthma hospitalizations above state averageCarlton County has a higher rate of hospitalizations for asthma than the state as a whole, data released this week by the Minnesota Department of Health show.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
Carlton County has a higher rate of hospitalizations for asthma than the state as a whole, data released this week by the Minnesota Department of Health show.
From 2008-10, the county had a rate of 9.7 hospitalizations for every 10,000 residents. That was the ninth-highest rate in the state and compared with a statewide rate of 7.3 visits.
Benton County, just northeast of St. Cloud, had the highest rate with 13.3 visits. The adjacent Mille Lacs County followed with 12.8 visits, although the health department considered that number “unstable” because of the county’s small population.
In Northeastern Minnesota, St. Louis County had a rate of 7.6 visits, Lake County 5.8 and Cook County 5.6, with the Cook County data also considered “unstable.” Four sparsely populated counties weren’t included in the data.
The health department released the data on Tuesday, which was World Asthma Day.
Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that affects an estimated
25.9 million Americans, the health department said. The percentages of both children and adults with asthma are lower in Minnesota than in the nation as a whole.
Wendy Brunner, epidemiologist for the asthma program at the health department, said hospitalizations are a measure of “the burden of asthma within a population.” Hospitalizations should be preventable, she said, by keeping asthma under control and avoiding exposure to the “triggers” of asthma.
Dave Lee, public health director for Carlton County, said he sees the report as “an opportunity for all of us in the community to look at the data and see what is driving a higher number of visits locally.”
Asthma is more prevalent in the Twin Cities metropolitan area than in the rest of the state and disproportionately affects people with low incomes, the health department said. But neither of those characteristics applies to Carlton County. The county’s poverty rate is 7.4 percent, compared with a statewide average of 11.5 percent.