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  The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Friday, March 15, 2013

Over 4 Million African Americans Have Been Diagnosed With Asthma

African American Child With Asthma

What is Asthma?
Asthma is a disease that affects the bronchial, or breathing tubes, that send air to the lungs. The inflammation increases mucus, causes muscle contraction and shortness of breath. People with asthma often experience difficulty breathing. Asthma attacks can cause death. Although anyone can get asthma, African-Americans are three times more likely to have asthma than Whites.

Asthma Statistics for African-Americans
  • Death rate 3 times greater than Whites
  • Death rate in children 7 times greater than White children
  • 80 percent higher prevalence of asthma in African-American children than White children
  • Over 4 million Aftican-Americans have been diagnosed with asthma

What Causes Asthma?
Asthma affects more than 300 million people in the world. Asthma often begins with allergies that can come from a number of sources. These include indoor and outdoor allergens like pet allergens, tobacco smoke, indoor pollution from mold, fumes, household cleaners and paint, and air pollution. Obesity can also increase the risk of asthma. Adults who are obese are 38 percent more likely to have asthma.

Symptoms of Asthma
Symptoms include coughing that worsens at night, wheezing sound when breathing, chest tightness, difficulty breathing or breathing fast, breathing difficulty brought on by exercise or outdoor activity. If these symptoms are occurring, it is important to seek medical help.

Treatment for Asthma
There is no cure for asthma but it can be treated and controlled. Medication works by preventing inflammation of the bronchial tubes and keeping the airways open. Most treatment includes medicine taken regularly in the form of pills or vaporizers. In addition, inhalers are used to get medicine to the lungs quickly in case of an asthma attack. Asthma sufferers should also avoid tobacco smoking or being around those who do smoke, clean and vacuum often if there are pets in the house, and avoid products that emit fumes into the air that can worsen the symptoms of asthma.
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