September 15 through October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Hispanic Americans make up about 18% of the U.S. population. The U.S. Census Bureau also projects this population to grow to 27% of the U.S. population by 2060. Understanding how allergies, asthma, and other health disparities affect the Hispanic American population is important as this community continues to grow.

 

Food Allergies

According to a study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Hispanic and African American children are much more likely to have corn, shellfish, and fish allergies than White children. Peanut is the most common food allergen among all 3 racial groups. Hispanic and African American children had significantly higher rates of anaphylaxis and are more likely to end up in the emergency room for food allergy related reactions compared to white children.

 

Asthma

While Hispanic Americans have lower rates of asthma, Puerto Ricans have nearly double the incidence of asthma. In the Genetics of Asthma in Latino Americans (GALA) study, Puerto Ricans had an earlier age of onset of asthma, and a higher risk of lifetime hospitalizations for asthma compared to Mexican Americans, ever after adjustment for asthma severity. In another study, it was found that Puerto Ricans had 3 times the odds of having severe persistent asthma as non-Hispanic whites.

 

Importance of Information

Understanding the disparities between races is important. Differences in asthma and allergy impacts on population involve social determinants, health disparities*, geographical locations, and other social differences between groups. Some of the differences include income differences, food insecurity, access to health care, and underlying genetic differences in races. Understanding these differences and working to bridge the gap can help with treatment and diagnosis issues. If you are struggling with allergies or asthma, visiting a Board-Certified Allergist can assist you. They will find the right treatment option that works best for you. To schedule an appointment please call (843) 797-8162 or schedule online. Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!

*A health disparities are a particular type of health difference that is closely linked with social, economic, and/or environmental disadvantage.
Sources:
Allergy & Asthma Network
CDC
NCBI