Better Educated May Have Greater Asthma Control

FRIDAY Dec. 18, 2009 -- There's good news for high-school graduates: Researchers have found they have less severe asthma symptoms than others.

Those with fewer than 12 years of education had worse control of their asthma and were more likely to visit emergency rooms, Canadian researchers reported Dec. 17 in the journal Respiratory Research. In fact, they were 55 percent more likely to report going to the ER within the past year.

Why the discrepancy? The researchers, who looked at 871 adults, suspect it has to do with poverty: Poorer people tend to have less education. At the same time, they may be exposed to dirtier environments, tobacco smoke and mold, and outdoor urban pollution.

"Although this link between socioeconomic status and asthma is well-established in children, this is the first study to investigate it in an adult population in Canada," study co-author Dr. Kim Lavoie, of Sacred Heart Hospital of Montreal, said in a statement. "It is noteworthy that patients with less education were more likely to exhibit poor health behaviors that may exacerbate asthma, including smoking and being overweight."

Once the connection between poverty and the disease is figured out, the researchers hope the medical community will be able to develop ways to help poorer asthma patients, they said.

More information

The federal government has more on asthma.

Posted: December 2009


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