Racial Discrimination Increases Risk Of Asthma

Racial discrimination linked to greater probability of asthma in African-American and Latino children.

The new study says that African-American children who reported racial discrimination are almost twice as likely to suffer from asthma compared to their peers.

Asthma is a disease which develops in childhood period. For now, according to statistics shows that one in ten children in the United States suffers from asthma, but somehow the condition disproportionately affects African-American and Latino children. In a new study published in CHEST, the investigators found that Black discriminated children are more prone to the disease. Among children with asthma, racial discrimination was also associated with a greater probability of having poorly controlled asthma. Similar trends have been found in adult women of color.

“Discrimination is a common and everyday experience for minority populations in America. People can be exposed to it at the individual and society levels. This constant stress gets embodied into our biology or DNA to change our bodies’ responses to diseases and medical treatments. Our findings support this biological embodiment for asthma and its control among African American children and among low-SES (self-esteem) Mexican American children,”  Luisa N. Borrell, lead and senior investigator DDS, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, City University of New York says.

The results of this study prove that the work is carried out to decrease asthma rates for Latino youth, but that for African-American youth, discrimination works independently of SES; however, the authors note that many unmeasured factors surrounding both discrimination and SES may help explain the association with asthma.

“With overt events of discrimination, whether towards one’s race, ethnicity, religion, gender, and/or sexual orientation increasing, this study is now more relevant than ever,” concluded first author Neeta Thakur, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco. “Discrimination is a real and everyday experience for many Americans, especially for those from minority communities. In this study, we demonstrate how this seemingly unrelated stressor is directly related to asthma and its associated outcomes in African Americans. This is significant as asthma is an incredibly common and costly disease of childhood and is on the rise in African American communities.”

We all have heard that words can kill, now we can see and understand how this mechanism works. And when it is coupled with our healthcare our kids happen to be in grave danger.


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