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Violence in inner city neighborhoods contributes to trouble with asthma
Date:9/1/2010

at these visits.

The researchers found that exposure to violence was quite common in their study group, affecting almost one-quarter of the group. Those previously exposed to violence had nearly twice the rate of subsequent hospitalizations or emergency care visits for asthma compared to asthmatics who had not experienced violence exposure. Asthma-related quality of life was also found to be lower in the violence-exposed group. Younger adults were more likely to be exposed to violence and more likely to have an ED visit in general.

The researchers said it is difficult to determine exactly how exposure to violence affects health. One possibility for persons with asthma is that exposure to violence is a marker for other exposures such as physical or social conditions that contribute to the development of their disease, exacerbate their symptoms, and interfere with successful treatment and management of their condition such as outdoor pollution, inadequate housing, or limited access to pharmacies. Another possibility, and not mutually exclusive, is that the psychological stress of living in a community with concentrated disadvantage directly affects the health of persons with asthma. It is known that such stress can affect overall health.

"Because overall ED visits increased and there was a trend toward increase in overall hospitalizations, our findings suggest that exposure to violence is associated with far reaching health effects beyond the single condition of asthma," said Apter.

The authors' findings emphasize the importance of neighborhood factors on overall health, especially in poor inner city settings where violence is common. The findings also highlight the need for physicians to carefully evaluate each patient and consider the environment in which the patient lives in order to recommend the most effective treatments.


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Contact: Jessica Mikulski
jessica.mikulski@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-8369
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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