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  The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Study: Less Than 10% of Asthma Patients Continue to Take Their Medication -- Why?

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, asthma affects about 26 million Americans and causes about 4,000 deaths in the United States in a year. Although treatments is available and effective in giving asthma patients relief, many do not follow the program and risk their health. Why?

One research study showed that only about 8-13 percent of asthma patients refill their medicine after a year. This puts them at risk for permanent injury to their airways and worsens normal lung function. It doesn't seem to make sense. Research from the University of California showed that many African-Americans suffered worse outcomes from asthma due to socioeconomic factors. This included not taking prescribed medication that would improve their health.

African-Americans Are In Danger

One study showed that African-Americans reaching young adult age, in particular, felt they had "...a better understanding of their asthma triggers and treatment as they reached young adulthood," according to Dr. Alan Baptist, a senior author of one study. As a result, they are more likely to have asthma attacks and more trips to the hospital. This would explain why a University of California study revealed that 35.7 percent of Blacks visited emergency rooms for asthma symptoms, compared to 21 percent of whites.

Others simply do not follow their allergy program. Many, such as Dr. Baptist, feel the solution lies in improving communications between physician and patient and discussing areas that represent social barriers to patients, such as taking medication in public, and finding alternative treatments. Dr. Baptist points out that this will go a long way to "...decrease health care disparities and improve outcomes."
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