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In this MD Newsline exclusive interview with allergist and immunologist Dr. Sakina Bajowala, we discuss eosinophilic asthma in Black and Brown patients. We also discuss the importance of preventing asthma exacerbations and emergency visits for asthma.

MD Newsline:

What factors have you seen contribute to asthma exacerbations in your Black and Brown patients? Can you speak to their burden of eosinophilic asthma?

Dr. Sakina Bajowala:

“Environmental and occupational factors play a role in the increased burden of asthma in Black and Brown patients. Environmental factors include tobacco smoke exposure, exposure to household chemicals and volatile organic compounds from personal care products and cleaning supplies, and traffic-related air pollution.

Many Black and Brown patients also happen to work in industries that are more physically demanding than desk work, which is relatively sedentary. And therefore, they experience greater asthma symptoms from exertion throughout the day that a patient with similar asthma severity who had a more sedentary job might not experience.

Additionally, we have some evidence that suggests that Black patients with eosinophilic asthma may not be as responsive to increasing doses of inhaled corticosteroid medications, which are the standard step-up therapy for asthma. So in this population, what we’ve been taught to do with increased asthma severity may not be working as well.”

 

MD Newsline:

Can you speak to the importance of preventing asthma exacerbations and emergency visits for asthma?

Dr. Sakina Bajowala:

“It’s essential to emphasize the importance of preventive care and ongoing symptom control, rather than simply treatment of exacerbations and acute symptoms. Getting patients access to high-quality and culturally sensitive preventive care can keep patients out of the emergency room and hospital.”

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Responses have been condensed and lightly edited.

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