Characteristics of asthma mortality and morbidity in African-Americans

J Asthma. 1993;30(6):431-7. doi: 10.3109/02770909309056751.


The percent rise in the number of asthma deaths was analyzed using data from the National Center of Health Statistics and compared for African-Americans and Caucasians. The rate of increase for African-Americans in the period 1979-1983 was nearly twice that of Caucasians, and the difference among genders for Caucasians was significantly higher for females. In Baltimore a high percentage (29%) of adult asthma patients (86.8% African-American) seen in an emergency room (ER) and living in the inner city had frequent visits (6 or more annually) to the ER. One-third of the patients used the ER exclusively for asthma management, and 39% delayed for at least 48 hr after onset of symptoms before seeking medical assistance. One-fourth had daily symptoms, and 11% of those regularly employed had missed 10 or more days annually because of asthma. Among the high ER users, 39% required more than one annual hospitalization for management of acute exacerbation of asthma symptoms. Risk factors for mortality and morbidity among inner-city and minority populations as well as potential areas of intervention are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Asthma / mortality*
  • Asthma / therapy
  • Baltimore / epidemiology
  • Blacks*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitals, Urban
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minority Groups
  • Morbidity
  • Poverty Areas
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Class
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Urban Health