"Asthma is a common health problem in Puerto Ricans living in the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico," said Dr. Celedn. "In contrast, the prevalence of self-reported asthma is relatively low, but not negligible, given the large population size, in Mexican Americans."
Among participants in the Genetics of Asthma in Latinos study, Puerto Ricans, as compared with individuals of Mexican descent, had an earlier onset of the disease, lower lung function test results, and a higher risk of lifetime hospitalizations from asthma, plus more visits to the emergency room because of the disease during the previous year.
In a review of the vital statistics data, the age-adjusted annual asthma mortality rates (per 1 million persons) were 40.9 in Puerto Ricans, 38.1 in non-Hispanic blacks, 15.8 in Cuban Americans, 14.7 in non-Hispanic whites, and 9.2 in Mexican Americans.
A study of 17,555 Mexican-American adults showed that being born in the U.S. was associated with a two-fold increase in the odds of lifetime physician-diagnosed asthma. Yet among Mexican Americans born in Mexico, those living in the U.S. for at least 10 years had half the prevalence of asthma as those who had been in the country less than 10 years.
"The reasons for the differences in asthma and rate of disease, or morbidity, among and within Hispanic subgroups are poorly understood but are likely due to the interaction between yet-unidentified genetic variants and other factors, including environmental tobacco smoke exposure, obesity, allergen exposure and availability of health care," said Dr. Celedn.
He stressed that broadening access to health care, improving housing conditions and reducing exposure to environmental tobacco smoke along with
Contact: Suzy Martin
American Thoracic Society