What Is Asthma?

According to the American Lung Association, asthma is a lung disease that makes it harder for air to transport in and out of your lungs. When someone has asthma, their lungs are inflamed most of the time, which makes them more tactful to their environment and which most likely triggers the asthma. Things that trigger asthma could include cold weather, dust, chemicals and smoke. In the event of an asthma attack, the insides of your airway swell even more than normal which makes it hard to breathe. Asthma is a chronic disease and there is no cure for it. Asthma can start at any age and can affect any race or ethnic group. Studies show that more than 26 million Americans suffer from the disease of Asthma. Statistics show that 47.5 percent of children under the age of 18 suffer from asthma. If you think the percent of Americans living with asthma is shocking, just think about the percentage of African Americans living with asthma. Asthma is more common in African Americans than it is in any other race or ethnicity. There is a great difference of the disparities of asthma between children worldwide. African American children are more likely to be diagnosed with asthma than Hispanic or white children. African Americans in the United States die from asthma in a higher percentage than any other ethnic groups or races. According to the North Central Health District Peach County 2013 Health Status Report, children ages 1-12 were most affected by asthma symptoms that led to an emergency department visit. There are many factors that impact and go into the mortality rate of African American children and asthma. The mortality rate of children suffering from obesity compares to the rate of children suffering from asthma. There are multiple health disparities that go into and trigger the chronic disease which are mostly found in low-income African American children families and households.

The factors that trigger asthma in the African-American youth population come from most of the sources found in low-income housing and communities. Typically, most low-income African-American urban environments are not clean and are very polluted and cluttered. In low-income housing and communities, there is not much fresh and clean air for the children and youth that breed in these communities. Two in five low-income houses have at least one cigarette smoker in the house. Inhaling smoke from cigarettes can lead to asthma, cancer or even worse, death. Many asthmatic triggers can be found in urban environments which include dust, chemicals and smoke. In Health disparities and factors that trigger asthma in African-American children in low income communities in Fort Valley, Georgia, the authors/scientist conducted a review that found and stated the health disparities and factors that triggered asthma in low income African-American communities. In their studies, they included factors such as health behaviors, lack of access to healthcare, lack of health insurance, environment and housing. In the article, it states that African-American and Latino children living in low-socioeconomic-status within urban environments have been more affected with this disease. In Novel genetic risk factors for Asthma in African American children: Precision Medicine and the SAGE II Study, the authors/scientists conducted a study to identify the genetic risk factors of asthma in African American children. They also researched the genetic variations connected to asthma in European and Asian populations to the ones of African American children. “We also assessed the generalizability of genetic variants associated with asthma in European and Asian populations to African American children. Stress can also be linked to evolution of asthma. In Characterization of the impact of Stress Exposure on Asthma in African-American Children, researchers studied asthma on children from the age of one to the age of six to see how chronic stress and asthma in African American youth affect each other. The results showed that Adverse Childhood Experiences have effects on children.

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There are many programs and agencies that are starting to help spread awareness about asthma. Most agencies helping to spread the awareness about asthma are non-profit. In Community organization to reduce the need for acute care for asthma among African American children in low-income neighborhoods: the Neighborhood Asthma Coalition, the researchers used NAC, which included educational programs, promotional activities, and individualized support provided by trained neighborhood residents, to determine whether a community-based research conducted in St.Louis could improve asthma awareness. This research study informed the people of St.Louis about the negative effects of asthma, morbidity rates, and how asthma can be prevented.

What are the positive effects of asthma? Because asthma is a chronic disease, there are no positive effects of asthma. Although there are no positive effects of asthma, there are many negative effects. Asthma stops people from being as active as they want to. Asthma may bring shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, wheezing and coughing. For example, athletes have to be active. If an athlete has asthma, it can prevent them from being as active as they want because of the symptoms that asthma brings. Asthma also has many long term effects. Asthma causes chronic swelling to the lungs which, over time, can lead to scarring of the lungs.

My Thinking About American Dream


It’s a difficult thing to “know your place” and fulfill your familial duty when around you, friends, neighbors, and strangers alike, all lived these carefree lives without constraints. They seldom just did “as they’re told” and they spoke their opinions. Opinions which were met with respect and encouragement. Still, I was happy and thought I had it all back then. Life eventually taught me that I actually had nothing without free choice and free speech.

Chapter 1: The American Dream

The first chapter of my life, “The American Dream”, is where I thought I had it all. My family and I first immigrated to America when I was 4 years old. I was the youngest of three siblings. My sister was 6 and my brother was 8. With our five lives packed neatly into two suitcases, we moved from our small village in Vietnam to a place where everything was completely foreign called Boise.

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Our first home was a one bedroom, one bath of a single-level triplex that closely resembled a run-down motel. It was located in the poor part of town and possessed paper-thin walls, hardly thicker doors, and hardened stains from floor to ceiling. Sleeping together under one big blanket on the floor, we were the definition of impoverished. Still, it was quite comfortable compared to our straw hut back in Vietnam.

My parents knew their employment opportunities would be scarce since we knew nothing of this new language and culture. Adopting a “beggars can’t be choosers” mentality, they took the first jobs they could get and enrolled us kids into school. As we got older, my parents took on more hours, eventually each working two full time jobs. Yet no matter how tired they were each night, we still fresh family dinners cooked from scratch. Thus, I came to admire them greatly.

Within 4 years, my parents bought our first house in the good part of town. It was a three bedroom, two bath home nestled in a quaint little neighborhood. It was the kind of place where people would leave their doors unlocked and kids would play outside until the street lights came on at night. Seeing how far we’d come in 4 short years, my admiration for my parents grew infinitely. They were my idols.

By the time I was 13, everything seemed to fall together. I was an honor roll student, my basketball team carried an undefeated season, and I had just made the cheerleading squad. At home, my dad now ran his own successful carpet cleaning business and my mom finally quit her second full time job. Within that year, we upgraded into a bigger house in an even nicer neighborhood. This new house didn’t just fill our needs, it swelled our family with pride.

Chapter 2: Worlds Collide

As they say, all good things must come to an end. Thus begins my second chapter entitled “Worlds Collide.”

The Vietnamese culture my parents came from was centered on a patriarch household and heavily preached the importance of respecting your elders. They believed that the man of the house should make all of the decisions and that the rest of the family should do as they’re told. They believed not doing so was a sign of disrespect and they believed in meeting disrespect with physical discipline. Most importantly, they believed in absolute familial fealty.

Throughout the years, my parents insisted on maintaining our culture and that we spoke only Vietnamese at home. But the more we came to understand the American way, the more we each questioned our own values, especially my mom. So just as it seemed like everything was coming together, my family started to unravel.

Predictably, my dad and brother were content to follow the Vietnamese culture. They were given the upmost importance simply for being males. My mom, sister, and I however, began to resent it. We came to want what everyone else had; free choice and free speech. Eventually the divide between us got too big and it was irreparable.

At 14, my sister and I called the cops one night and landed our brother in jail. He felt he had a right to tell us what to do and “discipline” us if we didn’t. We could no longer stand the fact that our parents culture enabled him to get away with abuse, time and again. My parents were horrified and disappointed that we could ever do such a thing to our very own brother. Family was supposed to come first.

My mom followed suit a couple years later and served my dad with a divorce. I had never seen anyone so crushed. The next day I came home from school, my dad and hero was reduced to a drunken blob in the living room. Sadly, the wisdom I had gained about my brother didn’t yet extend to my mom in regards to my dad. I often called her hurtful and selfish. A few times I even told her she wasn’t my mother. Thus my mom and hero became withdrawn and depressed.

The divorce dragged on this way for years and each of us came out broken. The house was foreclosed and my parents lost their businesses.

Chapter 3: Who I’m Supposed to Be

My final life chapter is entitled “Who I’m Supposed to Be.” Here I realized that at least I was now free to think, speak, and act as I pleased. Through doing so, I truly gained everything.

At 18, I graduated high school and moved out on my own. I tried to take classes at the local university but everything felt pointless and my grades suffered. I had never felt so shattered. My idols no longer existed. My dream, to become wealthy and give my parents everything in life, no longer had purpose. I then gave up on school for the time being and took a job working as a receptionist.

After a short time, I grew overly restless, got tired of working entry-level jobs, and decided I wanted to travel to “find myself.” Traditional methods weren’t affordable so I decided my best option would be to go back to school for a semester then use it to study abroad. That first semester back, I made a bucket list of all the places I wanted to visit. I had no desire to stay in Idaho so I extensively researched how to be away as long as possible while still obtaining my degree.

I finally settled on a plan that would give me 2 years away before I had to come back. Through a program called National Student Exchange (NSE), I could live and attend college in Hawaii for a year while paying in-state Idaho tuition. After that, I would go live and study abroad in Thailand for a year. My plans were easily do-able and I was already on my way. I was stoked and my internal fire started to grow again.

That next year in Hawaii was one of the best years of my life. For once, I didn’t feel restless. I loved the scenery, the people, the culture, and the food. It was everything I’d ever wanted. I instantly made several close friends and we always explored together. Thanksgiving morning, we watched the sunrise from the top of Stairway to Heaven then went home and had a potluck dinner in our dorm. I couldn’t be more thankful. The next day, we went out to the clubs and there I met my fiancé.


I thought all those things in “The American Dream” meant I had it all. At the time, “Worlds Collide,” signaled the end of everything for me. The freedom to think, speak, and act as I please felt pointless when it left me lost in the complete dark. Little did I know, that was actually the key. By following my personal wants and passions, I found where I’m supposed to be.

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