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Minority Women's Health: Asthma in Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders

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Asthma (AZ-muh) is a chronic disease of the lung airways. With asthma, the airways are inflamed (swollen) and react easily to certain "triggers," like smoke or dust mites. When the inflamed airways react, they get narrow and make it hard to breathe.

Common asthma symptoms are:

Coughing, especially at night
Wheezing — a whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe
Shortness of breath (feeling like you can't get enough air)
Chest tightness, pain, or pressure

Faster breathing or noisy breathing

When these symptoms get worse, you are having an asthma attack. You can die from a severe asthma attack.

The number of people with asthma keeps rising. When Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are counted as "Asian-Americans," their rate of asthma appears low. But surveys of Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders suggest much higher rates. For example, in Hawaii, Native Hawaiians are twice as likely to have asthma as any other ethnic group in the state. Some research suggests that Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are also more likely to die from asthma.

We don't know what causes asthma. But these factors could increase your chances of getting asthma:

Air pollution
Poor housing
Lack of education
Not being able to get to a doctor

Asthma has no cure, but it can be controlled. If you have asthma, you must take an active role in controlling it. This means seeing a doctor regularly, taking medicines your doctor gives you, and staying away from triggers that can cause an attack. Common asthma triggers include:

Secondhand smoke
Dust mites
Outdoor air pollution
Cold air

More resources on minority health

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EmpowHER Guest

Asthma has increased greatly in the United States over the last 10 years, in addition children are facing the complications of Asthma and high blood sugar together. What may effect the other, diet choices can also cause a problem in each illness. what can a diabetic eat

May 28, 2013 - 3:00pm
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