Chronic Health Condition: Asthma
Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that majorly affects an individual’s airway making it difficult to breathe. Asthma makes an individual’s breathing system inflamed and swollen, resulting in a low intake of oxygen required for the body’s normal functioning (Bush, 2019). Some of the significant signs and symptoms of asthma among patients include colds, flu, and different forms of allergies. However, the signs and symptoms of the respiratory condition vary from one patient to another due to factors such as age (Bush, 2019). Other health factors bring about asthma; For example, an individual may get asthma by inheriting it from their parent, while some are due to allergies and lifestyle habits such as smoking. An individual’s environment also plays a significant role in contributing to the condition (Bush, 2019). The Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People are among the people who have experienced the devastating impacts of asthma due to the high prevalence rate in the community compared to the non-indigenous groups.
The Extent of Asthma among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
The number of children from the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples that are suffering from different respiratory conditions is significantly high. The number of cases from the indigenous groups is double the number of non-indigenous individuals (Oxfam Australia 2019). Approximately 130,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People have asthma. The prevalence rate of respiratory health issues amongst Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children has also increased over time.
Risk factors contributing to Asthma among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children
Risk factors are various aspects that may contribute to individual developing asthma as a child or an adult. Risk factors also increase the chances of individuals developing other health complications who have asthma. Some of the major risk factors contributing to Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children developing asthma include environmental risk factors, behavioral risk factors, and family history of asthma condition. The environment is a significant risk factor that leads to increased cases of asthma in a given area. Environmental factors such as freezing weather and air pollution may lead to respiratory health conditions such as asthma.
Behavioral risk factors increase the chances of Australian indigenous children developing asthma. Behavioral risk factors increase the child’s comorbidity and chances of developing asthma. For example, poor eating behavior and sedentary behaviors amongst Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children may lead to obesity, a major cause of asthma for young children.
Social inequality behaviors, such as corruption in the distribution of healthcare equipment and facilities, have also contributed o the increase in asthma in Australia. The Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children are at significant risk of behavioral and environmental factors that cause asthma as compared to non-indigenous children (Oxfam Australia 2019). This is because of the health gap that exists between the indigenous groups and the non-indigenous Australian nationals.
These include access to clean air, water, and food, which are essential for sustainable health for children. Indigenous Australian children are the ones who are mostly exposed to these risk factors as compared to the non-indigenous hence the high prevalence rate of asthma in the group.
Another inevitable risk factor that has resulted in many indigenous Australian children contracting asthma is genetic predisposition.
Prevention and management of Asthma
Investing more resources towards ensuring effectiveness in the determinants of health is one of the most significant ways of reducing the prevalence and incidence rates of asthma amongst the indigenous children of Australia. One of the main determinants of health amongst Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children is the environment (Castillo, Peters & Busse 2017). The environment includes weather, climate, and other needs required to live a sustainable life. Policies and intervention plan to eradicate air pollution will help reduce environmental risk factors causing asthma among indigenous children.
Social determinants for good health also play a significant role in reducing asthma prevalence rates among indigenous Australian children (Oxfam Australia 2019). This includes ensuring healthcare equality among the indigenous and non-indigenous communities in Australia.
Another essential factor that will enable the Australian healthcare sector to reduce asthma prevalence and incidence rates amongst Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children is educating them on various ways of dealing with the condition. This includes educating them on how to use various medications to control the disease, such as Ventolin inhalers.
The Australian government should invest more resources towards ensuring that the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have access to quality and affordable healthcare. This is because most indigenous children are at great risk of the negative impacts of poor healthcare.
Ensuring quality health education about asthma and its effects amongst the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People will enable them to understand the condition appropriately. This will enable them to know how to handle the condition effectively hence reducing the prevalence and incidence rate amongst Australian indigenous children.
Australian Bureau of Statistics 2019, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, 2018-19 | Australian Bureau of Statistics, www.abs.gov.au, Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies 2020, Indigenous Australians: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, aiatsis.gov.au.
Bush, A 2019, ‘Pathophysiological Mechanisms of Asthma’, Frontiers in Pediatrics, vol. 7, no. 68.
Castillo, JR, Peters, SP & Busse, WW 2017, ‘Asthma Exacerbations: Pathogenesis, Prevention, and Treatment’, The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 918–927.
Oxfam Australia 2019, Close the Gap | Oxfam Australia, Oxfam Australia. Australian Human Rights Commission 2019, Discrimination: Know your rights Information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people | Australian Human Rights Commission, humanrights.gov.au.