Why Is Asthma Worse in African Americans?

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In the United States, racial disparities in asthma prevalence and severity can largely be attributed to socioeconomic and environmental risks, rather than to genetic or biological factors. That’s according to an analysis published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology showing that African Americans have higher rates of asthma-related hospitalization and death than white Americans.

The analysis, led by researchers at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, involved 579 participants in the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute's Severe Asthma Research Program. All study participants were over age 6 and lived in nine different states; they were followed for one year. Researchers measured participants’ lung function and other asthma biomarkers and performed blood tests for various allergens.

According to the data, African Americans were more than twice as likely as Caucasians to go to the emergency room for asthma symptoms. When the researchers weighted the data for socioeconomic factors and environmental exposure, the racial disparities evened out; however, African Americans remained 43 percent less likely to see their doctor for their asthma.

Sourced from: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology