What is Asthma?

According to the American Lung Association, asthma is a lung disease that makes it harder for air to transport in and out of your lungs. When someone has asthma, their lungs are inflamed most of the time, which makes them more tactful to their environment and which most likely triggers the asthma. Things that trigger asthma could include cold weather, dust, chemicals and smoke. In the event of an asthma attack, the insides of your airway swell even more than normal which makes it hard to breathe. Asthma is a chronic disease and there is no cure for it. Asthma can start at any age and can affect any race or ethnic group. Studies show that more than 26 million Americans suffer from the disease of Asthma. Statistics show that 47.5 percent of children under the age of 18 suffer from asthma. If you think the percent of Americans living with asthma is shocking, just think about the percentage of African Americans living with asthma. Asthma is more common in African Americans than it is in any other race or ethnicity. There is a great difference of the disparities of asthma between children worldwide. African American children are more likely to be diagnosed with asthma than Hispanic or white children. African Americans in the United States die from asthma in a higher percentage than any other ethnic groups or races. According to the North Central Health District Peach County 2013 Health Status Report, children ages 1-12 were most affected by asthma symptoms that led to an emergency department visit. There are many factors that impact and go into the mortality rate of African American children and asthma. The mortality rate of children suffering from obesity compares to the rate of children suffering from asthma. There are multiple health disparities that go into and trigger the chronic disease which are mostly found in low-income African American children families and households.

The factors that trigger asthma in the African-American youth population come from most of the sources found in low-income housing and communities. Typically, most low-income African-American urban environments are not clean and are very polluted and cluttered. In low-income housing and communities, there is not much fresh and clean air for the children and youth that breed in these communities. Two in five low-income houses have at least one cigarette smoker in the house. Inhaling smoke from cigarettes can lead to asthma, cancer or even worse, death. Many asthmatic triggers can be found in urban environments which include dust, chemicals and smoke. In Health disparities and factors that trigger asthma in African-American children in low income communities in Fort Valley, Georgia, the authors/scientist conducted a review that found and stated the health disparities and factors that triggered asthma in low income African-American communities. In their studies, they included factors such as health behaviors, lack of access to healthcare, lack of health insurance, environment and housing. In the article, it states that African-American and Latino children living in low-socioeconomic-status within urban environments have been more affected with this disease. In Novel genetic risk factors for Asthma in African American children: Precision Medicine and the SAGE II Study, the authors/scientists conducted a study to identify the genetic risk factors of asthma in African American children. They also researched the genetic variations connected to asthma in European and Asian populations to the ones of African American children. “We also assessed the generalizability of genetic variants associated with asthma in European and Asian populations to African American children. Stress can also be linked to evolution of asthma. In Characterization of the impact of Stress Exposure on Asthma in African-American Children, researchers studied asthma on children from the age of one to the age of six to see how chronic stress and asthma in African American youth affect each other. The results showed that Adverse Childhood Experiences have effects on children.

There are many programs and agencies that are starting to help spread awareness about asthma. Most agencies helping to spread the awareness about asthma are non-profit. In Community organization to reduce the need for acute care for asthma among African American children in low-income neighborhoods: the Neighborhood Asthma Coalition, the researchers used NAC, which included educational programs, promotional activities, and individualized support provided by trained neighborhood residents, to determine whether a community-based research conducted in St.Louis could improve asthma awareness. This research study informed the people of St.Louis about the negative effects of asthma, morbidity rates, and how asthma can be prevented.

What are the positive effects of asthma? Because asthma is a chronic disease, there are no positive effects of asthma. Although there are no positive effects of asthma, there are many negative effects. Asthma stops people from being as active as they want to. Asthma may bring shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, wheezing and coughing. For example, athletes have to be active. If an athlete has asthma, it can prevent them from being as active as they want because of the symptoms that asthma brings. Asthma also has many long term effects. Asthma causes chronic swelling to the lungs which, over time, can lead to scarring of the lungs.

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