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AAFA launches the Asma En Español initiative July 27, 2010

Posted by asthma & allergy friendly Certification Program in Health and Fitness.
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Understanding and managing asthma is not always easy, especially without adequate patient resources. That’s why Puerto Rican actress, singer and mother of two children with asthma, Dayanara Torres, has partnered with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) and Merck to launch the Asma En Español initiative, a new Spanish asthma education web resource to help patients learn more about asthma triggers and ways to manage the disease. Joining Dayanara Torres in this effort is Dr. Jaime Alvarez, an Allergist, Immunologist and asthma expert based in Miami, FL.

Asthma affects 2.7 million Hispanic American patients including 500,000 Hispanic American children in the United States. The disease also may affect Puerto Ricans at a higher rate than other Hispanic groups in America. In addition, Puerto Rican children experience a higher prevalence of lifetime asthma diagnoses and recent asthma attacks compared to non-Hispanic white and black children and Mexican children.

“Asthma is quite prevalent in the Hispanic American community. Yet, there are few resources in Spanish to help patients understand their disease,” said Dr. Alvarez. “The Asma En Español initiative provides tools that can help patients and parents of children with asthma in our community understand and manage their disease.”

An important step to managing asthma is understanding the disease and what can trigger an asthma attack. Understanding what causes asthma can help patients achieve better asthma control. A recent survey* of 200 Hispanic American asthma sufferers and caregivers of children with asthma conducted by AAFA and Merck as part of the Asma En Español initiative shows that while:

  • Most Hispanic American patients (72 percent) and caregivers (77 percent) surveyed felt confident that they know how to avoid indoor asthma triggers, many of them are not able to actually identify those triggers.
  • For instance, less than four in ten patients (37 percent) and caregivers (31 percent) surveyed recognized that pet dander is a common asthma trigger, and
  • Nearly one in three patients (32 percent) and more than four in ten caregivers (44 percent) surveyed did not realize that cigarette or cigar smoke could be a problem for asthma patients.

“There are many myths about asthma out there, and I believed some of them before speaking with my children’s doctor,” said Dayanara Torres. “For example, there are just as many triggers indoors as there are outdoors. I’ve also learned that the indoor environment may expose people to more asthma triggers than anywhere else.”

The Asma En Español asthma education web resource offers a free downloadable guide to learn more about triggers as well as tips to avoid or minimize them in your home. Being able to identify asthma triggers can help keep asthma symptoms at bay and in turn, help patients enjoy daily activities. 

“Asthma should not prevent a patient from enjoying daily activities,” reminded Dr. Jaime Alvarez.

The Asma En Español survey indicates that 42 percent of adult patients surveyed admitted to altering their lives due to fear of an asthma episode, while nearly four in ten caregivers surveyed said that asthma has kept their child from going to play dates (39 percent),exercising or playing sports (38 percent) and attending after-school activities (38 percent).  A majority of patients (86 percent) surveyed felt they have been unable to control their asthma, and many (47 percent) report that this is because they have been unsuccessful in avoiding situations that trigger their asthma. This may also be why nearly eight in ten survey patients (79 percent) feel that they don’t know everything there is to know about their disease.

Language barriers and limited online resources in Spanish could be preventing some Hispanic American patients and caregivers from achieving asthma control. The Asma En Español survey found that nearly one-third of Hispanic American patients (32 percent) would prefer to receive information about their asthma in Spanish. In addition, 44 percent of patients surveyed said that one of the reasons they do not always understand their physician is because their physician does not speak Spanish. The majority of Hispanic American patients and caregivers interviewed (60 and 54 percent, respectively) also said that they would prefer to receive medical information online.

“After looking at the survey results, we fully appreciate the importance of providing online asthma education resources to Hispanic American patients. We’re excited about AsmaEnEspañol.com and its potential to raise awareness about asthma, and to ultimately help Hispanic American patients better manage their condition,” said Mike Tringale, AAFA’s vice-president of External Affairs.

Asthma doesn’t have to stop patients from enjoying and living their lives. Patients and caregivers of children with asthma should speak with their physician about ways to manage the disease, including identifying and controlling exposure to asthma triggers. In addition, patients and caregivers can visit AsmaEnEspañol.com to learn more about asthma and its different types of triggers in Spanish.

About AsmaEnEspañol.com

www.AsmaEnEspañol.com is an online resource in Spanish, developed by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) and Merck, which provides information on asthma, including asthma triggers. Hosted on the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA)’s Web site, the resource also offers free downloadable tools to help patients and parents of children with asthma manage the disease on a daily basis, such as a list of questions to ask your doctor, an asthma record to keep track of symptoms and medications, an asthma self-management action plan and an asthma action card. www.AsmaEnEspañol.com also features more information about Dayanara Torres’ personal story and experience as a mother of two children with asthma. For more information, visit www.AsmaEnEspañol.com

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