Question:How do socioeconomic factors affect my risk of developing asthma?
Answer: Over the past 10 years, people have recognized not only that asthma itself is increasing in incidence, but that's it's happening among certain populations of Americans. And in particular among African Americans and people of low income.
Now, the reasons for this are not entirely clear. But as far as low income, what we think is happening there is that people of low income have less easy access to health care. And when you don't have easy access to health care, you tend not to have the continuity that people need to have to have good control of their asthma. They may not have the same accessibility to medications. They may not understand fully how to work with their asthma to keep it under control.
Also in low income areas of big cities, people may have less access to emergency care. And also in big cities, there are problems of exposures that can make asthma worse. The population tends to be more closely crowded giving more risk for infections; there tends to be more pollutants. Smoking is also an important factor among people of low income. And the things that they may have in their apartments or their residences such as dust, dust mites, cockroaches, exposure to animals or pets in a confined space as well as lots of exposure to people in a confined space.