In 2020 in the state of Georgia, 9% of adults had asthma, and almost 10% of our children had asthma. According to the CDC - Asthma is a disease that affects your lungs. It causes repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and nighttime or early morning coughing. Asthma can be controlled by taking medicine and avoiding the triggers that can cause an attack. Environmental triggers that can worsen asthma should be removed. Black and Latino children are at higher risk and less likely to be diagnosed. Lack of access to health care is one of the challenges.
I reached out to Dr. Leroy Graham, a pulmonologist and founder of Not One More Life, an organization that was founded in Atlanta and doing advocacy work nationwide to educate and advocate for the health of our community’s children where asthma is concerned.
I asked Dr. Graham how he came to found the Not One More Life Foundation. He speaks about his career and the number of children not receiving the care needed to prevent or alleviate their asthma. He also speaks about the health disparity that impacts our community more.
Often our neighborhoods are in environmentally challenging areas, including heavy street traffic and/or industry pollutants. These things only exacerbate asthma. The home environment can also be challenging if dust and pests abound.
Dr. Graham shares that asthma is under-treated because the symptoms often imitate the common cold. He cautions parents to understand that a cold could be asthma if “cold” symptoms last longer than 7 days. He mentions a cough, shortness of breath, and challenges breathing.
Your doctor may provide a treatment solution, but if your child’s symptoms persist, Dr. Graham encourages you to ask for other options or a referral to a lung specialist. Sometimes just asking if there are other solutions can prompt your doctor to share other treatments that may be more effective.
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