UCLA Logo It now seems that low-income Californians have more cases of asthma and end up in emergency room or hospital more often. A recent research undertaken by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research asserts that approximately 5 million Californians have been diagnosed with asthma and those in poverty suffer more severe consequences from the condition than those with higher incomes. Due to lack of quality health care and dwelling in high-risk environments, incidences of asthma may be on a rise.

Investigations assert that around 600,000 Californians experiencing frequent, daily or weekly symptoms signal uncontrolled asthma. Amongst them 39.1 percent claim to earn less than 200 percent of the federal government’s poverty standard (FPL). Having scrutinized data from the California Health Interview Survey conducted between 2001 and 2007, a relationship between poverty and lack of access to quality health care appeared. Investigators noted that repeated exposure to environmental factors leads to asthma symptoms, including smoking and second-hand smoke.

The research focused on calculating the prevalence of asthma among adults and children in California’s counties. Those with a high percentage of families living in poverty apparently had some of the highest proportions of people presently suffering from asthma. Among all the counties poverty was seemingly linked with asthma. Though health insurance can provide access to continuous care needs, 22.1 percent low-income Californians are uninsured.

Ying-Ying Meng, a senior research scientist with the center and co-author of the report, shared, “The poorest among us suffer most because they lack quality health care and live in high-risk environments. That disparity also burdens our health system with costly emergency care and hospitalizations and extracts the additional high cost of millions of lost days of work and school. Asthma has the potential to be debilitatingbut it can be effectively controlled through appropriate medical care and avoidance of triggers.”

It is estimated that low-income Californians are five times as likely to be uninsured as their counterparts with asthma earning twice as much. Continuity and quality of asthma care may affect 19.0 percent low-income Californians and 8.6 percent of their counterparts. Scientists have put forth the need for improvements in sub-standard housing, restrictions on second-hand smoke and other policies addressing the environmental factors that contribute to asthma.