Asthma is a chronic lung disease that usually involves constant underlying inflammation and lung damage. Asthmatics suffer acute attacks during which air passages in the lungs narrow and breathing becomes difficult. Attacks can vary from mild to life-threatening and can be triggered by things people are allergic to (allergens) or things that irritate the lungs. While there are multiple factors that can make asthma more severe, both inhalant allergens and respiratory irritants increase the frequency, severity, and duration of asthma symptoms.
Asthma rates have been increasing
- National asthma rates doubled from 1980 to 1995, making asthma the leading serious chronic illness of children. During this period, asthma-related child mortality increased 50% to 1500 deaths per year.
- Cuyahoga County asthma rates are higher than the U.S. average rate. A report by the Center for Community Solutions and Cleveland State University found that in 2008, the Cuyahoga County vs. U.S. prevalence was:
- 13% vs. 8% for White children
- 24% vs. 17% forAfrican-American children
- 24%vs. 8% for Hispanic children
- By high school, more than one and five children in Cuyahoga County have been told that they have asthma.
Asthma and Environmental Justice
Asthma is related to poverty, as substandard housing conditions provide asthma trigger sources that are inhalant allergens and respiratory irritants.Link: The Burden of Asthma in Ohio (Ohio Department of Health)
Asthma resources for Cuyahoga County:
- ClevelandHealth.info- Asthma– Local Health Indicators
- Ohio Statewide Asthma Plan
- Clearing the Air: Asthma and Indoor Air Exposures by the Institute of Medicine (2000). Read the report free online.
- Allergy and Asthma Network/Mothers of Asthmatics
- Allergy and Clinical Immunology- Johns Hopkins Asthma & Allergies
- American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
- American Lung Association’s Asthma Page
- 2007 NIH Asthma Guidelines
Other EHW links: