The Hispanic and Latinx (HL) ethnicity can be described as a set of racially and culturally diverse subgroups. According to the current asthma demographics, as published by the American Lung Association, the overall rates of asthma in Hispanic individuals is relatively low at 6.4%. However, it is also noted that the rates of asthma vary significantly among Hispanic subgroups. For example, it is estimated that Puerto Ricans in the continental US have the highest rates of asthma compared with any other racial or ethnic group.
A study, published in the Journal of Asthma and Clinical Immunology, “sought to determine whether disparities in asthma morbidity exist among HL adult subgroups.”
Researchers collected data from adults with moderate-severe asthma from US clinics, including Puerto Rico. The study population was comprised of 457 individuals with Caribbean HL (Puerto Rican or Cuban and Dominican heritage) in addition to 141 individuals with Other HLs (Mexican, Spanish, or Central/South American heritage). Researchers also conducted a subgroup analysis between Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Dominican individuals.
Baseline characteristics and asthma morbidity measures (exacerbations requiring systemic corticosteroids, emergency department/urgent care [ED/UC] visits, hospitalizations, and health care utilization) were then compared between groups.
When comparing groups, age, BMI, poverty status, blood eosinophils, and fractional exhaled nitric oxide levels were similar between Caribbean HL and Other HL cohorts., However, the Caribbean HL cohort was prescribed more asthma controller therapies. The Caribbean HL cohort had significantly increased odds of asthma exacerbations, ED/UC visits, hospitalization, and health care utilization.
Subgroup analysis revealed that Puerto Rican individuals had a significantly increased likelihood of asthma exacerbations, ED/UC visits, hospitalizations, and health care utilization when compared with those in the Other HL cohort. Those with Cuban and Dominican heritage only had increased odds of exacerbations compared to the Other HL group. When comparing Puerto Rican with Cuban and Dominican individuals, Puerto Ricans had greater odds of ED/UC and health care utilization.
“Caribbean HL adults, compared with Other HL, adults reported nearly twice the asthma morbidity; these differences are primarily driven by Puerto Rico. Novel interventions are needed to reduce morbidity in this highly impacted population,” the authors of the study wrote.