Connecticut has a strong network of community health centers that treat people with severe asthma, but more help is needed for people who live in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, reports The Connecticut Mirror.
Asthma, one of the most widespread chronic conditions in the United States, afflicts approximately 26.5 million people nationwide, or about 8.3 percent of the population. The cause is not known and there is no medical cure. The disease disproportionally affects people who live in economically disadvantaged urban neighborhoods. In New Haven’s Newhallville and Dixwell neighborhoods combined (the Carmons live in Newhallville), an estimated 17 percent of residents report asthma, more than double the national rate, according to the Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE).
Connecticut’s asthma rate is worse than the nation’s. It’s 11 percent for children and 10.5 percent for adults—and rising. Neighborhoods in Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven are among the hardest hit. Automobile exhaust, cigarette smoke and mold and vermin in sub-standard housing are among the triggers. “Your ZIP Code matters. It’s a determinant of health,” said Marie-Christine Bournacki, coordinator of the asthma program for the Connecticut Department of Public Health.
In Hartford’s North Meadows neighborhood, for instance, asthma in children from birth to age 4 accounted for 1,738 visits to hospitals per 10,000 residents in 2016, according to DataHaven. In comparison, the rate in Madison, a wealthy coastline town, was just 78. The median household income in Madison is $108,231; while in North Meadows it’s $20,434.