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Hispanic Health News

Asthma Affecting 3 Million Hispanics – Many Living Near Polluted Areas

Asthma Affecting 3 Million Hispanics – Many Living Near Polluted Areas

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“The simple act of taking a breath is a challenge for three million Hispanics with asthma,” said Dr. Jane L. Delgado, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health (the Alliance), the nation’s leading Hispanic health advocacy group. Commenting on Vital Signs data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Delgado stated, “Data released today by the CDC to mark World Asthma Day demonstrates how vital it is to the health of Hispanic communities to have a strong Clean Air Act and enforcement of air quality standards.”

Asthma is a respiratory disease that causes the airways in your lungs to become swollen, narrowed, or blocked making it difficult to breathe. For those with asthma, an attack can be triggered, among other causes, by indoor and outdoor allergens, tobacco smoke, or air pollutants such as smog or ozone. According to the Alliance, more than two-thirds (70%) of Hispanics live in areas that do not meet federal air quality standards for one or more pollutants. Some 15 percent of Hispanics live within 10 miles of a coal-fired power plant — well within the distance resident’s asthma can be triggered by contaminants in the smoke plume.

About one in ten children have asthma making it the most common chronic disease for U.S. children and a leading cause of childhood hospitalizations and school absences. The issue is particularly pronounced for Puerto Rican children with almost one in five (18.4%) currently having asthma. Studies also show that Hispanic children with asthma are less likely to have an asthma management plan or medication to control their asthma.