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Disparities in asthma outcomes can have a devastating impact.

Black people in America bear the greatest burden of asthma among people in the United States. Compared to white people, Black people are three times more likely to die of asthma. Black women have the highest death rate due to asthma.

These facts about the burden of asthma show the importance of urgent solutions which include asthma management.

La Fondria Brown, PhD, shares a story showing that with community education, asthma control can improve.

Starting with an Inhaler

From the time she was a child, La Fondria recalls having trouble breathing. Her asthma symptoms were often brought on by strong scents or cigarette smoke.

La Fondria spoke with her doctors many times about her trouble breathing. After much self-advocacy, she was diagnosed with asthma and given a quick-relief inhaler.

At first, that seemed to be enough. She experienced better breathing and could manage her symptoms.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Asthma

  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Wheeze (a whistling sound when you breathe)
  • Waking at night due to asthma symptoms
  • A drop in your peak flow meter reading (if you use one)

Could There Be More?

While La Fondria felt she had her asthma under control, she often wondered if there was more to asthma management than using just a quick-relief inhaler.

As someone with a PhD, La Fondria understood the importance of asking questions and not giving up until you find some answers.

Her research led her to an asthma education program in her local community.

HEAL: A Comprehensive Approach to Asthma Management

La Fondria wanted to learn more, so she joined the Asthma Care for Older Adults program through the St. Louis Chapter of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).

Asthma Care for Older Adults is part of AAFA’s Health Equity Advancement and Leadership (HEAL) program. HEAL is a project that works with communities that bear the greatest burden of asthma. Older adults have more asthma symptoms and deaths than younger people. They are also less likely to get the diagnosis and treatment they need.

Through a connection with HEAL, La Fondria found a community of people living with asthma. And she found different ways to manage her symptoms.

Managing Asthma

There is no cure for asthma, but it can be managed by:

  • Avoiding or limiting contact with your asthma triggers
  • Taking your asthma medicines as prescribed
  • Following an Asthma Action Plan and recognizing early signs
  • Knowing what to do when your asthma gets worse

Yes, It’s More Than an Inhaler

Through this new community, La Fondria learned new ways to manage her asthma. She also worked with a health care provider to develop an Asthma Action Plan.

Now, La Fondria knows she has all the tools she needs to manage her asthma. Good tools include using her quick-relief inhaler when needed. She also received products through the program that helped improve her indoor air quality and reduce exposure to asthma and allergy triggers. Items like a CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly® air cleaner and pillows.

“I’m so glad I kept looking for answers,” La Fondria said. “And I would encourage anyone to take advantage of a program like HEAL. My life was great before, but it’s even better now that I have all the tools to manage my asthma.”

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  • La Fondria Brown, PhD: La Fondria Brown, PhD

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