Greenpoint and Williamsburg: Asthma As a Community Health Problem

561 words | 2 page(s)

Greenpoint and Williamsburg, two districts located in Brooklyn, are neighborhoods that are plagued by a variety of challenges that characterize many similar communities in New York. That is, the quality of housing is poor because residences are poorly maintained, resulting in negative health outcomes; asthma and other respiratory diseases present tremendous challenges for this community. The places where people live influence the air quality of those communities, and in these neighborhoods, air pollution is a significant problem that clearly affects the rate of asthma in the population. Although the air quality in New York City is improving, air pollution such as fine particles can cause health problems, specifically among the very young, seniors, and those who have pre-existing health conditions (Community Health Profiles, 2015.) Greenpoint and Williamsburg are plagued with the eighth highest levels of PM 2.5, the most dangerous air pollutant, and which plays a substantial role in the rate of asthma in the population.

Many of the hospitalizations for children with asthma in Greenpoint and Williamsburg could be completely prevented if specific housing related exposures to asthma triggers were being addressed; these precipitants include mice, secondhand smoke, and cockroaches. The high rate of asthma symptoms could also be prevented if citizens of that district were able to receive adequate medical management. In these two districts, the rate of asthma hospitalizations among children ages 5 to 14 is half the rate in the city, but nevertheless 18 out of 10,000 children in Greenpoint and Williamsburg are hospitalized each year with asthma. For adults, the overall rate is 223 hospitalizations per 10,000 people.

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Once a person has his or her first asthma attack, exposures to air pollution and Contaminated environments in the home, workplace, and outside environment act as triggers to future attacks. There are a wide variety of factors that are involved in triggering asthma attacks, including specific foods, medications, for, formaldehyde, pollen, dust, and the byproduct of the burning of fuel and other combustible materials.

Asthma and other respiratory diseases have a significant impact on the communities with high levels of air pollution and other contaminants because residents of these communities need medical care, inpatient and outpatient, to prevent, treat, and maintain the health of those affected. This results in large expenditures for healthcare, and since many people in these communities are in the lower socioeconomic group with limited access to health care, often they do not seek the care that they need to avoid having asthma attack. In addition, the financial situations prevent those with asthma and other related diseases from keeping their illnesses stabilized because the myriad of socioeconomic problems that they face dilutes the energy that they might otherwise have to concentrate on their conditions. Many of the people with asthma in Greenpoint and Williamsburg lack medical insurance so that the community bears the burden of paying the costs of the treatment when they necessarily must be hospitalized.

The residence of Greenpoint and Williamsburg are significantly impacted by the air pollution in the New York City area, which explains the high rates of asthma in that area. The citizens there are in no position to prevent developing asthma because they have no control over the pollutants and contaminants that surround them. This community suffers from lead poisoning and high rates of cancer as well, all of which result in numerous hospitalizations for a large percentage of the population in order to treat these conditions.

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