People who currently have asthma are much more likely to rely on drugs that offer quick relief for symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheezing, or coughing, than medications for long-term control, according to Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) News and Numbers.

Approximately 31% of people with asthma say that they use quick-relief medications to control their symptoms, compared to about 14% who rely on longer-term preventive medicines for control. Another 31% use both types of medications and 24% use none.

The federal study further found that among people whose asthma was active when surveyed:

• More than one-fourth reported having a peak flow meter at home for measuring their ability to expel air from their lungs;
• Nearly half (48%) of adults said they had at least one asthma attack within the previous 12 months; and
• Women were more likely to have asthma attacks than men—50% versus 40%.

AHRQ, a part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, works to improve the quality, safety, efficiency and effectiveness of health care in the United States. The data in this AHRQ News and Numbers comes from the Agency’s Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a highly detailed source of information on the health services that Americans use, how frequently they use them, the cost of these services, and how they are paid.