North Korea announced on Saturday that it could beat down…
Asthma is a condition that affects the airways and the small tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. Childhood asthma is not a different disease than asthma in adults, but children face bothersome symptoms that interfere with their daily activities including play, sports, school and sleep.
The word ‘asthma’ is derived from a Greek word meaning ‘breathlessness or panting‘ both of which accurately describe an attack of asthma.
In children with asthma, airways are swollen and inflamed. When these inflamed airways come into contact with an asthma trigger, symptoms of asthma appear.
Asthma has multiple causes, and two or more different causes can be present in one child. Colds and allergens are the two most common factors that trigger an asthma attack. Coughing, recurrent bronchitis, wheezing and shortness of breath, especially during exercising can be seen in an asthmatic child.
Based on the severity of the symptoms, childhood asthma can be classified as:
There is no particular diagnostic test and asthma is diagnosed with the help of medical history, symptom evaluation and physical examination.
Asthma cannot be cured and symptoms may continue into adulthood. But symptoms can be kept under control with the right treatment, which involves preventing the asthma symptoms and treating an asthma attack in progress.
These causes of asthma are not fully understood but developing an overly sensitive immune system generally plays a role. Due to increased immune system sensitivity, the lungs and airways become swollen and produce mucus when exposed to certain triggers.
The triggering factors of asthma include:
When a person comes in contact with an asthma trigger, the muscles around the walls of the airways tighten so that the airway becomes narrower. The lining of the airway swells and produces sticky mucus. As the airways narrow, it becomes difficult for air to move in and out and they find it difficult to breath. This may be accompanied by a wheezing or whistling noise.
Depending on the trigger there are two types of asthma. Extrinsic asthma is an immune response to an external allergen such as pollen or dust. Intrinsic asthma is due to inhaling certain chemical agents such as cigarette smoke and paint vapors.
Childhood asthma is difficult to diagnose during infancy. Observe for indicators in your infant like audible wheezing, pale or bluish skin, and rapid breathing. Also note if they are irritable and keep sitting and also refuse to lie down.
Asthma in older children can be detected by –
Medical history – A family history of asthma, allergies, eczema, or other lung disease increases the chances of developing asthma.
Symptom evaluation – A detailed description about the symptoms (difficulty breathing, chest pain, wheezing or shortness of breath) by the parents can help the doctor to diagnose childhood asthma.
Physical examination – Auscultation of the heart and lungs to listen to any abnormal chest sounds helps in the diagnosis.
Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) are a collective group of tests that measure the amount of air in the lungs and how fast it can be exhaled. The results help the doctor determine the severity of the asthma. Pulmonary function tests cannot be performed in children younger than 5 years and in such cases the doctors have to rely on history, symptoms and examination in making the diagnosis. PFTs confirm the presence of asthma in the patient.
Spirometry – The patient will be asked to breathe into a mouthpiece that is connected to a device called a spirometer. It will measure the amount of air that they can breathe in and out and its rate of flow.
Peak flow test – It is used to measure how fast you can breathe out air from your lungs into a device called the peak flow meter.
Exhaled nitric oxide test – It measures the level of nitric oxide in your breath. The level of nitric oxide in the breath indicates the level of inflammation of the airways.
Methacholine challenge – Methacholine is an asthma trigger, which when inhaled can cause constriction of the airways. Thus, if the patient reacts to methacholine, they are likely to have asthma.
Histologic findings – Eosinophilic infiltration is considered a major marker of asthma. Histological findings reveal narrowing of airway lumina, bronchial and bronchiolar epithelial denudation and mucus plugs. Patients with severe asthma have smooth muscle hypertrophy and a thickened basement membrane.
Allergy skin test – The doctor advises an allergy skin test if the child has asthma that is triggered by allergies. This test helps identify whether the child is allergic to pollen, mold, dust mites or other allergens.
The most important part in managing asthma is developing a better understanding about how and when asthma causes problems, how to avoid the triggering factors and how to use the asthma medication. The doctor outlines an ‘asthma action plan’ for the parent that indicates the medications to be taken, when and how to increase the doses or add more medication if needed and when to seek emergency care for the child.
Treating asthma involves preventing the asthma symptoms and treating an asthma attack in progress.
Asthma medications can be classified as:
Most children with persistent asthma need to use a combination of long-term control medications and quick-relief medications. Some children may require medications to treat allergies.
Most asthma medications that are given to adults can also safely be prescribed to children with asthma after adjusting the doses for their age and weight.
Feb 02, 2018 0After 16 years of war in Afghanistan, experts have stopped...
Jan 26, 2018 0“The United States is not losing in Afghanistan, but it...
North Korea announced on Saturday that it could beat down…
Dry skin is a universal problem; people the world…
The Afghanistan cricket board reacted at the demands of the…
Air pollution refers to the presence of solid particles and…
The Zika virus (ZIKV) is currently holding the world at…
Feb 23, 2018 0
Feb 24, 2018 0
Feb 20, 2017 0NAP is pleased to launch its new studio The Hidden...
Nov 18, 2017 0The two Rohingya Muslim brothers, six-year-old...