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Asthma, PTSD Rates Are High Years After 9/11

Armen Hareyan's picture

Even two or three years after 9/11 attacks people still suffer numerous physical and psychological health complications such as Asthma and PTSD.

There was a study showing how deeply rescue workers suffer, but this study by New York City health department shows that general residents also suffered much.

The study looked at World Trade Center Health Registry with 71437 participants, which includes rescue workers, residents who live or work near the WTC, residents living in Lower Manhattan, and those who are simply passing by. All these people were witnesses on 9/11 and they are deeply affected by what had happened. More than half of them appeared in a dust cloud coming from the buildings, 70% of them saw a traumatic sight, 13% suffered injury.

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This is not yet all because the people involved in the registry are only 17.4% of those who could be involved. Researchers estimated that there are about 400,000 people who suffered the disaster, 35000 - 70000 developed PTSD, 3800 - 12600 people developed asthma. This means that there are still a lot of residents who should be registered as well, and if the study looked at every single sufferer, the picture would be even more frightening.

These injuries lasted long enough and even now, 7 years later, most of them still suffer health complications. The most common problems are asthma and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The research reports the situation 2-3 years after the event - 16% of registered people still suffer PTSD and 8% suffer psychological distress. The rates are particularly higher among minorities, low income people, and women.

Newly diagnosed asthma rates are the highest among rescue workers - 6%, compared to 3.7% of residents who were not evacuated from the site on that day, 3.6% of residents who came back to their homes just two day after 9/11, 3.6% of passers by, 3.5% of those who came to work near WTC are a few days after the disaster, 3% of Lower Manhattan residents, 2% of those who came back to their homes in December 2001. These rates are twice as higher as asthma rates in US generally.

PTSD rates were the highest among those injured - 35%, compared to 31% of low-income residents, 30% of Hispanics, 20% of those who avoided to return to their homes after the event.

This study shows that not only rescue workers suffered health complications, but also those who lived or worked in NYC. Moreover, health conditions may still exist even years after the disaster, but these conditions - asthma, PTSD - are treatable and the treatment is free.