WASHINGTON, DC–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–November 7, 2002–Citing the heavy burden that poorly controlled asthma is placing on Hispanic Americans, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and a group of leading organizations today launched a major Hispanic initiative to improve asthma care in the United States. The Asthma Action America® campaign seeks to help the more than 24 million people in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with asthma at some point in their lifetime1 better understand and manage the condition. Rates for asthma prevalence, hospitalization and death are higher among Hispanic Americans than among non-Hispanic Caucasians.
LULAC, the nation’s largest and oldest member-based Hispanic organization, has decided to take action towards educating its more than 115,000 constituents about how to better control asthma. The lack of culturally relevant and in-language educational materials makes it difficult for many Hispanics affected by asthma to effectively manage a controllable disease, says LULAC President, Hector Flores.
“Asthma affects entire families and communities,” said Flores. “Knowing how to keep asthma under control can make a huge difference in the quality of life for a community that is disproportionately affected by this disease. We want Hispanics across the country to have the information they need to properly deal with their own asthma or that of their children or loved ones.”
One of LULAC’s major focus areas is health education for Latinos. “We have a responsibility to make Spanish-language brochures and public service announcements that deal with asthma control widely available to our members. By leading this effort we know that we are helping to change the lives of many Hispanics who look to us for support and information.”
Asthma is a chronic lung disease. Both inflammation and bronchoconstriction cause the airways to narrow, leading to symptoms that include cough, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness.
Though there is no cure, advances in research and preventive treatment in the past decade have made asthma a highly controllable condition. Yet for many Hispanic Americans, asthma remains out of control.
The rate for emergency department visits due to asthma in 1998 was almost twice as high for Hispanic Americans (35 percent) as for non-Hispanic Caucasians (18 percent)2 and nearly twice as many Hispanic Americans (12 percent) as non-Hispanic Caucasians (7 percent) 2 were hospitalized for asthma in the previous year. Asthma prevalence is particularly high among Hispanic-American children – in fact the rate of asthma is two and a half times higher for Hispanic-American children than among non-Hispanic Caucasian children and more than one and a half times higher than among African-American children. 3
Asthma accounts for approximately 5,000 deaths1, 500,000 hospitalizations1, two million emergency department visits1 and costs the US economy $14 billion every year. 4
“Asthma shouldn’t affect us so profoundly,” said Antonio Anzueto, M.D., a pulmonary and critical care physician in the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, associate professor of Pulmonary Diseases at the University of Texas Medical School at San Antonio and the Hispanic medical spokesperson for the campaign. “We could greatly reduce asthma’s impact by improving education and more closely following treatment guidelines: avoiding asthma triggers, using inhaled anti-inflammatories where appropriate to prevent symptoms, working closely with healthcare professionals and regularly monitoring asthma control.”
A centerpiece of the Asthma Action America campaign is a new, validated test available in Spanish and English that people can use to help determine whether or not their asthma is controlled.5 The Asthma Control Test™ features five simple questions, based on asthma guidelines developed by the National Institutes of Health,6 that give people a quick and easy way to help gauge how their asthma is affecting them. People should use the test results to work with their healthcare professional to develop an appropriate asthma management plan.
Asthma Action America is a national campaign in which a large number of leading organizations are working together to improve asthma education. Additional supporting organizations include:
Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Association for Respiratory Care
American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
American College of Chest Physicians
American College of Emergency Physicians
American Lung Association
American Pharmaceutical Association
American Thoracic Society
Association of Asthma Educators
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
GlaxoSmithKline Respiratory Institute
National Association of Chain Drug Stores
National Business Coalition on Health
National Medical Association
Public Library Association
As part of the campaign’s launch, supporting organizations have issued a call to action for Americans to work together to “beat the deadline” established by Healthy People 2010 for achieving asthma objectives.7 (Healthy People 2010 is a national health agenda developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.) The call to action outlines a four-point national Asthma Action Agenda – improving awareness of asthma control; promoting preventive approaches to asthma management; addressing racial, ethnic and economic disparities; and expanding the number of partners involved in asthma education and care – and suggests action steps for individuals and institutions.
To take the Asthma Control Test™, and learn more about asthma and effective asthma management, in Spanish or in English people can visit www.AsthmaActionAmerica.org. To request a free Spanish or English language campaign brochure, people can call toll-free 1-800-704-4699.
Asthma Action America is supported by the GlaxoSmithKline Respiratory Institute. GlaxoSmithKline is a research-based pharmaceutical company and a world leader in respiratory care.
Asthma Control Test, copyright and trademark of QualityMetric Incorporated, 2002.
1. National Center for Health Statistics. Raw Data from the National Health Interview Survey, US, 1997-1999. (Analysis by the American Lung Association Best Practices Division, Using SPSS and SUDAAN software).
2. Asthma in America, October 1998; Schulman, Ronca and Bucuvalas, Inc. and Glaxo Wellcome Inc. For more information about the survey and its methodology, visit www.AsthmaInAmerica.com.
3. Beckett WS, et al. Asthma among Puerto Rican Hispanics: A multi-ethnic comparison study of risk factors. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1996; 154(4 pt 1):894-9.
4.National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Morbidity and Mortality: 2002 Chart Book on Cardiovascular, Lung, and Blood Diseases. May 2002.
5. QualityMetric Incorporated. Analysis and Validation of the Asthma Control and Tracking (ACT) Project, July 2002. A study of 471 patients with asthma (12 years of age and older) compared patient responses to the test questions with an asthma specialist global assessment of their asthma control. The Asthma Control Test™ is a trademark of QualityMetric Incorporated, 2002.
6. Practical Guide for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health. NIH Publication No. 97-4053, October 1997.
7. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2010: Understanding and Improving Health. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, November 2000. Visit www.health.gov/healthypeople for more information.