Respiratory illness has been one of the most talked-about health concerns in the past two years, namely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The topic is coming up again, this time as a result of recent research from the American Lung Association (ALA).
ALA creates a yearly report on air quality tracking pollution levels in communities nationwide. The 2022 ALA State of the Air report found that the number of Americans living in areas with unhealthy air is at an all-time high. More than 40% of Americans are exposed to poor air quality.
There has also been an increase in the number of people who live in areas with potentially hazardous levels of particulate matter such as soot, dust, and other debris from factories and congested roadways. The spike in wildfires in recent years has drastically increased levels of particulate pollution for those living in the Western States in recent years.
Poor air quality is an increasing cause for concern among health care professionals who treat patients with lung diseases sensitive to air quality changes such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and emphysema.
Air quality reaches beyond patients with pulmonary disease. On days when air pollution registers at unhealthy levels, emergency room utilization rates increase. This includes patients not only presenting with respiratory distress but also with heart attacks and strokes.
Long-term exposure to unhealthy air can increase susceptibility to infections and even stunt lung development in children leading to a lifetime of increased risk for chronic respiratory ailments.
It is expected that more Americans struggling with these health concerns will seek comprehensive health insurance that covers the long-term care they need. This may include services from specialists such as pulmonologists and respiratory therapists and also related professionals including sleep medicine doctors and cardiologists.
Due to a projected uptick in the need for respiratory care in the coming years, it’s important that insurers have a robust provider network that includes these professionals. If you would like some support in this area, reach out to TOG Network Solutions today to schedule a consultation.