Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways that causes difficulty breathing, and occurs most commonly in people who become sensitized to certain allergens in our environment. People with asthma react to different triggers. Common triggers include air pollution, diesel exhaust particles, viruses, environmental tobacco smoke, cockroach particles, dust mites, cat or dog dander, outdoor pollen, and mold. These exposures also may contribute to the early development of the disease.
Low-income neighborhoods bear a disproportionate share of pollution sources such as diesel bus depots, major commercial roadways, and deteriorated public housing that is often infested with cockroaches and mice. The areas of the South Bronx and Northern Manhattan have one of the highest death and disease rates from asthma in the country. Childhood asthma in these communities is responsible for a large portion of emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths. New York City has one of the country’s highest rates of hospitalizations and deaths due to asthma among children and young adults, and African American and Latino patients accounting for more than 80% of the cases.
Center scientists are following a group of more than 700 children in New York City from pregnancy through adolescence. This research is shedding light on why children in urban areas suffer higher rates of asthma than non-urban children do, and how environmental toxicants contribute to the prevalence of this disease. The results and findings of our research are helping reduce rates and prevent asthma not just in New York, but across the globe.
Source: Kids Health