Violence Leads to Asthma, Even Before Birth

kid with inhaler

Do you suffer from asthma, or does your child? Common causes of asthma usually include allergies, genetics, pollution, and poverty. However, experts are finding evidence to support that “stressors (including violence), even as early as utero, may actually affect the development of asthma,” according to this article.

Because infants and children have smaller airways than an adult, having a tightened airway can make breathing extremely difficult in younger children.

Professor of Epidemiology Dr. Victoria Persky even says that “just going outside or going to the doctor can cause enough stress to trigger an asthmatic attack.”

If it is that easy to trigger an attack, how can we protect our children, and ourselves, from this disease?

September reportedly has the highest number of documented attacks, but that is not why this news is being widely discussed right now. Chicago, a place where asthma attacks are highly documented, is “marked by poverty and violence”; and due to the “shooting and killing fields of Chicago,” experts are growing increasingly worried about how this violence is affecting the amount of those who are suffering from asthma.

Michelle Anderson, who has had asthma for 17 years, lives in Englewood. She says, “”When you come home every day you have to worry about am I going to get shot and you stay in the house all day.” Inside of her home, “There's mold and allergies. You can't step outside to get a breath of fresh air.”

According to the article, “A decade ago, over 9,000 Chicagoans were hospitalized annually for asthma. In 2011 that number had dropped to 7,000. But even with the decline, Chicago still leads the nation when it comes to asthma statistics.”

Katrese Minor, the Executive Director at Mobile CARE foundation, which helps Chicago kids in underprivileged neighborhoods with asthma, said, “In hospitalizations, ER visits, missed school days, Chicago still tops the charts as far as those, those records unfortunately.”

Does this news shock you? Or were you already aware of these facts?

Asthma can be pretty debilitating. The pressure in your chest during an attack is frightening; and the internal desire for air heightens anxiety, making symptoms worse. Numerous members of my immediate family have suffered from this, and various medications have always permeated our home. But we keep our home clean, and we are not really involved with any types of violence. I can’t imagine how much worse it may be for those who are often disturbed with various forms of brutality. Of course parents want healthy children, but how can they help their children if outside factors are the cause?

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Considering your home, and the town in which you live, is there an alarming amount of violence? Do you find that this has affected your health, or your child’s?

What do you think?

Violence Leads to Asthma, Even Before Birth

Kimberly Shannon is a wife, a mother, an editor, a writer ... She is always working to find the perfect balance¹! After Kimberly received her bachelor’s degree in Journalism, she worked on two master’s degree programs (Creative Writing, and Marriage and Family Therapy). At various times in her life she has signed up to study Naturopathy, only to back out at the last minute, and humored the idea of returning full-time to the world of dance. Kimberly has also started 10 different children ... More

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