Asthma in African American Children

Currently, asthma is considered the leading chronic disease in the United States. Its prevalence is increasing, causing a significant health burden and influencing both morbidity and mortality rates (Loftus & Wise, 2016). Even though both children and adults can experience this condition, recent evidence suggests that it disproportionately affects children under 18, especially African American children (Assari & Lankarani, 2018). This suggests that there is a pressing need to address this problem to reduce disparities in this population’s asthma outcomes. To better understand the background of this issue, this paper discusses asthma and its characteristics followed by a suggestion that proper education and management measures could improve this condition’s symptoms and overall quality of African American children’s lives.

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First and foremost, it is important to define what asthma is and what symptoms and signs are typically associated with this condition. According to research, asthma is a common chronic, or long-term, respiratory, inflammatory disease. This condition is characterized by a variety of recurring symptoms, including shortness of breath, chest tightness, whistling or wheezing sounds during exhaling, episodes of coughing and wheezing, as well as easily triggered bronchospasms and reversible airflow obstruction. These may occur regularly a few times per week or even a few times a day. In some cases, asthma signs and symptoms may become worse with exercise, allergy, or at night. Even though this condition is a minor nuisance for some people, there are those for whom asthma can harm the quality of life (Assari & Lankarani, 2018). Hence, it is imperative to control this disease, starting with a proper diagnosis, followed by a comprehensive education and treatment plan.

Currently, 8,4% of Americans have asthma, and its prevalence is increasing (Loftus & Wise, 2016). However, the average annual asthma prevalence is higher in children, especially among African American children, who suffer disproportionately from this condition and experience 30% higher asthma-related deaths as compared with non-Hispanic white Americans (Tam-Williams & Jones, 2018). While asthma is a well-recognized disease, there is currently no precise method for its diagnosis, which is usually based on the pattern of symptoms, spirometry, and response to therapy over time. This suggests that a specific, customized plan for managing symptoms is a key component of improving control over this disease and preventing attacks in African American children. Otherwise, asthma can result in psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, and stress, and lead to several serious respiratory complications, including status asthmaticus, respiratory failure, pneumonia, and the collapse of the lung (Assari & Lankarani, 2018; Tam-Williams & Jones, 2018).

To conclude, asthma is a well-recognized, chronic respiratory disease that negatively affects one’s quality of life. It is associated with a variety of symptoms, which can be improved with a proper treatment plan. Even though asthma affects both children and adults, current evidence demonstrates that African American children suffer disproportionately from this disease all across the United States. This demonstrates that there exist significant disparities across race groups, which requires implementing practices that would address this particular issue. Since comprehensive management is considered as a key component of improving asthma-related outcomes across all population groups, one may suggest that proper education on asthma management given by teaching sessions 30 minutes three days a week would help reduce the disruption of daily lives and improve control of

asthma attacks in African American children over one year as compared to receiving no education.

References

Assari, S., & Lankarani, M.M. (2018). Poverty Status and Childhood Asthma in White and Black Families: National Survey on Children’s Health. Healthcare, 6(2), 62.

Loftus, P.A., & Wise, S.K. (2016). Epidemiology of Asthma. Current Opinion in Otolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery, 24(3), 245-249.

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Tam-Williams, J.B., & Jones, B.L. (2018). Closing the Gap: Understanding African American Asthma Knowledge and Beliefs. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, 121(4), 458-463.

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