Recent studies have revealed that children living in economically challenged or more densely populated areas are at greater risk of developing asthma. Those children of African-American or Latino descent were shown to be at higher risk regardless of the income level of the neighborhoods they were raised in. This study was performed over 40 years and was conducted with the cooperation of multiple institutions throughout the United States. Six thousand children were observed as part of the Children’s Respiratory and Environmental Workgroup Consortium.
How This Information Was Gathered
Throughout the studies, the children and their parents were approached. Medical histories were taken, interviews were conducted, and questionnaires were filled out involving the frequency of asthma attacks and periods of wheezing. In addition, the details of the neighborhood conditions, education levels of the parents, and lifestyle choices, including smoking habits, were factored in. The child’s likelihood of wheezing and asthma symptoms was determined using this information.
46% of those children studied developed wheezing symptoms in their first year. 26% of these children would continue to experience symptoms through their 11th year. In these cases, 25% would be diagnosed with asthma. High-population density neighborhoods contributed heavily to increased instances of ongoing asthma and wheezing, as did low-income families and those living below the poverty line. Regardless of income level, Latino and African-American children saw higher asthma rates.
Information gathered during these studies suggests the following:
- Environmental Factors Play a Significant Role
- Air Pollution is more prominent in high-density areas, aggravating symptoms
- Access To Health Care
- Health Insurance Is Less Accessible In These Populations
- Lack of available paid time off
- Poor transportation availability to medical offices
- Discrimination and related stress
- Emergency Room visits and related deaths are double in these populations
- Imbalance in access to Asthma programs and Treatment
These concerns exist nationwide across all income levels and in all neighborhoods. While improved socioeconomic situations may ease these concerns for some minority sufferers, access is still more restricted than for white patients. Further, genetic studies on asthma have largely been performed on white patients, limiting understanding of how asthma impacts minority patients. Steps are being taken to change these imbalances, including research into how asthma impacts these groups differently. Ongoing studies reveal that African Americans often report symptoms differently than people living with white asthma. For example, white asthma sufferers tend to report lower airway symptoms rather than upper airway symptoms more common in African American patients.
Reach Out To Your Allergy Specialist For Asthma Care
If you’re experiencing symptoms associated with asthma and are seeking relief, contact your allergy specialist today. They’ll provide you with the resources you need to get your symptoms under control. Together you’ll go over the latest information and determine what factors exacerbate your symptoms. Asthma doesn’t have to limit your activities or significantly impact your quality of life. Get started with taking control of your symptoms by scheduling your first asthma appointment with your allergy and asthma specialist today!