Asthma in Kids
A lot of children face the problem of immune deficiency today. It is largely due to environmental degradation, increasing acute respiratory infections. As a result, children suffer from a plenty of allergic diseases, including asthma. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the respiratory tracks that is often accompanied with the breathlessness and coughing attacks. There are two types of asthma: chronic and acute asthma.
Nobody can be safe from asthma, but children are more likely to catch it if compared to adults. According to statistics, more than 25 million people in the United States are known to be diagnosed with asthma. Nearly 7 million of them are children.
Those children, who have respiratory infections and wheeze very often, are at a very high risk of developing asthma.
Study has shown that boys have more chances of catching asthma than girls. When speaking of adults, men and women are at the equal risk group of developing asthma. However, doctors do not have the answer to the question how sex and sex hormones effects on causing asthma. Most of those, who have asthma, also have different allergies.
In some cases, people can develop asthma for the reason of contact with some industrial dusts or certain chemical irritants in the work place.
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Bronchial asthma in children may manifest in different symptoms, which may also vary; this depends on the age of a child.
A child with asthma experiences the following symptoms:
- Cough, especially during games, in a dream, when laughing and crying
- Chronic cough (may be the only symptom)
- Passivity in games
- Rapid breathing (periodically)
- Pain in the chest area
- Whistling sound during inhalation or exhalation
- Strong chest movement during breathing (these movements are called retraction)
- Shortness of breath, wheezing
- Feeling of weakness or fatigue
Yet, not all people having these symptoms are diagnosed with asthma. Having the signs of asthma does not necessarily mean that a patient is asthmatic. It is not reasonable to rely on the symptoms only, when stating the diagnosis of asthma. It is necessary to pass additional tests to rule out other pathology causing respiratory failure.
In some cases, symptoms of asthma may annoy a person. Other times, they may provide with some troubles changing a patients routine. Mostly, severe symptoms are fatal, but it does not mean that one is supposed to treat them when first noticing in order keep them from becoming more severe.
Almost 50% of children, who complain of shortness of breath, have a chronic cough or chronic laryngitis, and asthma is not detected. Therefore, this condition in children is characterized as a reactive respiratory disease.
Asthma is one of the most widely spread chronic diseases in children. 10-12% of children in the world suffer from asthma and this number is constantly increasing.
Risk factors for asthma include:
- Allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
- Eczema (allergic skin rash)
- Asthma in relatives
- Frequent SARS
- Low birth weight
- Passive smoking
- Rising of a child in a family with low income
- Laryngitis in a child
Respiratory specialists consider that children with asthma should not avoid gym class. They say that children have to stop worrying about the attacks; sport does not affect it. Shirley S. Wang writes:
Physical activity by people with asthma isnt harmful and might even be helpful to treating the condition, doctors in the field believe. A report published last year in the Cochrane Database Systems Review, a journal that reviews health-care treatments and decision making, looked at 19 previous studies of exercise and asthma and concluded that people with the respiratory condition fared well with physical activity. The studies results ranged from showing no difference in patients' asthma control to an increase in the number of symptom-free days and a decrease in asthma severity.
An allergist and immunologist at Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in Hershey, Timothy Craig makes us sure that physical exercises have a tendency to reduce the frequency and severity of attacks; this fact was proved by the laboratory studies carried out on animals with asthma. Mice, which took part in the experiment, have shown that sport slows down the activity of peptides and inflammatory proteins in airways, which stimulate an attack.
However, doctors worn us that people, who suffer from asthma, have to make sure they keep their asthma under control before doing physical exercises. If a patient notices that his or her exercises lead to the regular occurrence of attacks, it must be a sign of the fact that the treatment is not effective, which means that asthma is not well controlled.
Wang cites Dr. Craigs statement, which says that, even when people with asthma have a good treatment plan in place, they need to take extra precautions while exercising. Patients should warm up before walking or jogging, for example, by starting at a slower pace. They also should warm down afterward by reducing speed or exertion before stopping completely. Changing one's heart rate gradually appears to lower the risk of an attack.
Among the most effective medications, which relieve asthma symptoms, are bronchodilators (beta-2 agonists). They relax the muscles of the narrowed airways. Bronchodilators include Proventil, Xopenex, Ventolin, and ProAir, which are the most commonly used in the United States. These medications are always considered to be quick-acting relievers. Those children, who suffer from the mildest form of asthma or intermittent asthma, need to take it occasionally.
Another group of children who suffer from persistent asthma are supposed to take medications daily in order to control their disease. These medications are called long-term controllers; their role is to decrease swelling or inflammation.
There are also Long-acting bronchodilators, which have much longer-lasting influence (about 12 hours). They are usually used when asthma in children cannot be controlled any other way.
People are curious to know what they are supposed to do in order to prevent asthma, however, there is no way to do it, and asthma cannot be prevented at all. The only thing that is possible to do is to control it. Here are some general steps, which can direct children in case they are diagnosed with asthma:
Learn about the type of asthma you have and find out the ways to control it. This step is important to be carried out with a doctor.
Follow the instructions given by the doctor. Do not do anything more than your doctor prescribed, as well as never avoid anything recommended by your doctor. Next step is to find things that have a negative influence on your asthma condition (asthma triggers). But never consider sport as an asthma trigger. If physical exercises make you feel bad, it means that the plan of your treatment is not properly designed rather than they are harmful. Sport is an integral part of the healthy lifestyle, so do whatever you can to involve it in your daily life.
Check the state of your asthma regularly. Asthma is a chronic disease that requires daily treatment. Only in this case, one can count on the success of the treatment. The disease cannot be cured completely. There is a concept stage approach to the treatment of asthma. Its content consists of changing the doses, depending on the severity of asthma. Treatment should take place under constant medical supervision.