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Nonprofit Organization Releases List of Asthma Capitals

Alison Rodriguez
An allergy and asthma organization says it has ranked the top 100 cities in the United States where it is challenging to live with asthma, showing the influence of community factors on asthma rates.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) recently released its 2018 Asthma Capitals report, which ranks the top 100 cities in the United States where it is challenging to live with asthma, demonstrating the influence of community factors on asthma rates.

The report ranks each city based on asthma prevalence, asthma-related emergency room visits, and asthma-related deaths. Springfield, Massachusetts, topped the list due to having the highest asthma rate overall and the highest number of asthma-related emergency room visits in the country.

The top 10 Asthma Capitals include:
  1. Springfield, Massachusetts
  2. Richmond, Virginia
  3. Dayton, Ohio
  4. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  5. Louisville, Kentucky
  6. Cincinnati, Ohio
  7. Youngstown, Ohio
  8. Birmingham, Alabama
  9. Greensboro, North Carolina
  10. Toledo, Ohio
While calculating the rankings, the report also considered risk factors that contribute to the patient outcomes, including poverty, air quality, access to specialists, pollen counts, medicine use, tobacco policies, and the rate of uninsured residents.

“Warmer temperatures from climate change are increasing ground-level ozone levels, especially in more urban, industrialized areas,” said Kenneth Mendez, president and chief executive officer of AAFA. “This, combined with a lack of policies to protect those with asthma living in poorly maintained rental housing and inadequate health care, creates a perfect storm of asthma prevalence."

The report revealed 2 distinct patterns of asthma prevalence, which the organization calls “asthma belts.” While all top 20 Asthma Capitals were located in the eastern half of the nation, there were 2 “asthma belts”—one in the Ohio-Lake Erie area, and one in the Northeast Mid-Atlantic area.

The report acknowledged the need for educating families who manage asthma, especially those at a high risk for poor asthma outcomes. Additionally, a treatment plan may also help improve outcomes and those with uncontrolled asthma are encouraged to see a board-certified allergist or pulmonologist to help with disease management.

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