Challenging places to live with asthma in the western United States

Asthma and the AAFA

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, or AAFA, do several studies regarding asthma and allergies each year. One study in particular caught our attention earlier this year. The Asthma Capitals study is annually conducted to determine the most challenging places to live with asthma.

We strive to make the best air filter for allergy and asthma sufferers who subscribe to our air filter subscription. As an Arizona-based company, and one with a founder who is among the approximately 20 million Americans living with asthma, we were curious how Phoenix and other Arizona cities fared.

Live with Asthma in Phoenix, AZ

Living with asthma in the West

The table below ranks western metropolitan areas where higher total scores indicates a worse environment for living with asthma.

Worst western cities to live with asthma

The following cities are the most challenging in the West to live with asthma in:

Rank CityTotal Score
1 Albuquerque, NM78.60
2 Spokane, WA74.80
3 Phoenix, AZ74.28
4 Stockton, CA73.58
5 Tucson, AZ73.25
6 Sacramento, CA72.65
7 Modesto, CA71.95
8 Boise, ID70.73
9 Las Vegas, NV69.69
10 Denver, CO68.49

Failing the grade for air quality in the west

Unsurprisingly, poor air quality is among the risk factors that can worsen asthma or influence asthma rates. The study directly calls out a variety of sources of air pollution as well as ozone as being problematic. Those sources include, but are not limited to:

Western cities the American Lung Association gave an F rating

The list included in the study relies on 2018 data and includes the 5 worst cities in the west. It’s also noteworthy that 8 of the 10 worst cities in the American Lung Association’s 2018 study were cities in Western States.

  1. Phoenix, AZ
  2. Stockton, CA
  3. Sacramento, CA
  4. Modesto, CA
  5. Salt Lake City, UT

Unfortunately, we found our hometown, Phoenix, AZ received an F rating for air quality.

Alarming in Albuquerque

Beyond being the worst city in the west for living with asthma, Albuquerque, NM has another unfortunate designation. It is estimated to be the worst city in the United States for asthma prevalence, too.

The worst 100 cities for those with asthma

While we have focused on our corner of the country, the broader study does include the entire United States. Get your copy of the full study by visiting the AAFA’s Asthma Capitals page.

What can be done

The AAFA study doesn’t only focus on the worst cities in the U.S. for asthma sufferers. It also suggests a course of action for government agencies and officials, health care providers, drug companies, health insurance companies and, of course, those with asthma.

For individuals with asthma, whether you live with asthma in the West, or anywhere else, their recommendations include:

  • If you aren’t receiving treatment, consider visiting an asthma specialist
  • For those receiving treatment for your asthmatic condition, continue to do so
  • Learn how to handle asthma attacks by educating yourself
  • Avoid asthma triggers at school, work, home and outdoors
  • Parents of children with asthma should not smoke, and if they do, they can commit to quitting and sign up for a tobacco cessation program
  • Use inhaled corticosteroids and other prescribed medicines correctly
  • Reduce personal contributions to air pollution
  • Vote for asthma-friendly policies
  • Speak at local city council meetings about asthma
  • Spread asthma awareness on World Asthma Day

We respectfully add considering our high-quality, MERV 13 rated, air filter subscription. MERV 13 air filters are the highest rating for residential filters, and are also often found in hostpitals, doctors offices, and clinics. Learn more about the MERV rating scale.

Switching your home’s HVAC to MERV 13 filters is akin to creating a whole-home air purification without chaining your home’s HVAC system.

Published by Tru Filtered Air Team on December 20, 2019 6:56 pm
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