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Nevada higher in asthma, heart risk, smoking than nation

July 31, 2013 at 11:47 PM   |   Comments

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LAS VEGAS, July 31 (UPI) -- Adult asthma is higher in Nevada -- 15 percent compared with 13.8 percent nationwide -- due dry weather, dust and quick temperature changes, a researcher says.

Sheniz Moonie, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and southern director for the Nevada Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, a program in cooperation with the University of Nevada, Reno, that collects vital health statistics for the state.

The annual survey of about 4,000 Nevadans asks about asthma rates, diabetes, heart disease and numerous other diseases.

"A lot of folks assume we're the worst in everything. We do fare higher in tobacco rates, also relatively higher than the nation in heart disease rates. But in terms of obesity and diabetes, we're about equivalent, not higher, than the nation," Moonie said in a statement.

"It changes when you start looking at pockets of populations. American Indian rates are through the roof for diabetes. Adult asthma is higher in Nevada than in the nation."

Environmental triggers for asthma are the dry weather, dust and a climate that goes from hot to cold very quickly, Moonie said.

"Of course, cold and flu season and times with heavy wind yield a lot of emergency room visits for asthma," Moonie said. "Particulate matter, dust and pollens get kicked up in the wind. Wind is just very difficult for the respiratory system to deal with."

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