Blog: National Partnership for Action
Targeting Asthma’s Toll on Minority Communities
Posted on 5/24/2012 by Albert A. Rizzo, MD
As part of Asthma Awareness Month this May, the American Lung Association has rolled out a wide variety of updated and newly developed tools and resources for people living with asthma and their caregivers, school personnel and healthcare providers. One of the most exciting is Lungtropolis , a fun and interactive website for children and parents to improve their asthma management knowledge and skills.
More than 25 million Americans currently have asthma-including 7 million kids. Even more distressing is the fact that asthma rates are on the rise. Asthma affects people of all ages, races, genders, and socioeconomic statuses. However, it is far from an "equal opportunity" offender. Asthma occurs at disproportionately higher rates among some ethnic and racial populations. In fact, African Americans have one of the highest overall rates of asthma of any group.
The American Lung Association is keenly concerned about such lung health disparities, and our Disparities in Lung Health Series reports address the needs of populations that are disproportionately affected by lung disease. Asthma is, in fact, the subject of our most recent report: Luchando por el Aire: The Burden of Asthma on Hispanics .
Did you know that, compared to non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics with asthma are less likely to be prescribed appropriate asthma medicines? Or that they are more likely to end up being treated in the emergency department or hospitalized in an asthma attack crisis? These are just two of the reasons why Hispanics face a greater burden when it comes to managing their asthma. Our report Luchando por el Aire: The Burden of Asthma on Hispanics looks at the complex factors that increase asthma's burden on the Latino population.
Hispanics are the nation's fastest growing ethnic group, and the urgency of addressing the burden of asthma grows with it. The American Lung Association recommends a number of action steps to help eliminate these disparities. To learn more, go to www.LungUSA.org/Asthma-In-Hispanics . The report has been a useful catalyst to bring stakeholders together around the country to explore the problem in their community and take some of the action steps recommended. Concerned groups and healthcare professionals can also reach out to the American Lung Association in their community for tools and expertise to take local action .
We are proud to work closely with and support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s National Asthma Control Program. The National Asthma Control Program is a model for community-based efforts to address asthma. Since its inception in 1999, the program has helped reduce deaths and hospitalizations due to asthma through state and community based organization partnerships. The Lung Association also advocates for funding for asthma research and other lung diseases at the National Institutes of Health.
To learn about the American Lung Association's programs, resources and activities about asthma, visit www.lung.org/asthma .
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The NPA works to achieve health equity -- the highest level of health for all people. This blog is a venue for professionals from all fields and sectors to share their thoughts on pressing issues, news and events pertaining to health equity. Follow and participate in this candid discussion.
About the Author
Albert A. Rizzo, MD is the National Board Chair of the American Lung Association. Dr. Rizzo is Chief of the Section of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the Christiana Care Health Systems in Newark, Delaware and is managing partner in a 13-physician pulmonary/critical care/sleep medicine group.
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