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Why is asthma so much worse in urban areas?

On Behalf of | Jan 9, 2024 | Social Security Disability (SSD)

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease where the sufferer’s airways get so inflamed that they cannot get trapped air back out of their lungs – or new air in. In severe cases it can be entirely debilitating, or even fatal.

It’s also much worse in urban areas, especially among children. Researchers are now starting to confirm what many have suspected for a long time: Pollution and poor air quality, which is problematic in most inner cities, plays a huge role in the severity of the disease.

Air quality and lifestyle dilemmas abound

Why is the air quality index so much poorer in urban areas when compared to rural ones? Essentially, it’s all the tiny little particles of matter that make their way into the air people breathe. 

In urban areas, that includes particulate matter that includes nitrogen oxide and soot from vehicles, smoke from cigarettes and vapes, dust, dirt, mold and the droppings of cockroaches and mice. All of these things tend to gather heavily wherever people are the most concentrated – and particularly in low-income areas.

What’s the solution? For those whose asthma is triggered by exposure to environmental pollution (which is about 30% of children with the disease), the answer seems simple: relocate to someplace without all those problems. The only problem, of course, is that it isn’t always possible. Asthma sufferers who are living in economically depressed urban areas aren’t usually staying there because they want to be there – they lack the means to go anywhere else.

Until the social ills that cause poor urban air quality are corrected, this is likely to be an ongoing problem for many. Whether you’re an asthmatic adult or you have a child with asthma, there may be Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits available if the condition is disabling. Learning more about these benefits can help.