The world is witnessing a sharp increase of around 160 percent in the prevalence of asthma in children. Statistics reveal that millions of children across the world are being affected by this disease. Medical professionals highlight the urgent and careful attention needed on treating impairment and risks involved with asthma in children.
Basics of Asthma in Children
Asthma is the chronic inflammatory disorder which leads to airway limitation, airway hyper-responsiveness, and persistent respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. Airflow limitation is caused by airway edema, mucous plug formation, acute bronchoconstriction, and airway remodeling.
Diagnosis of Pediatric Asthma
50 to 80% of children suffering from Asthma tend to develop its symptoms before they reach the age of five. Mimicking other pediatric diseases such as upper respiratory infection, these symptoms of Asthma vary widely. Classic symptoms are wheezing, persistent coughing, rapid breathing or shortness of breath, or chest tightness. These are worse during early morning or in evening hours, or these are associated with certain triggers such as allergen exposure or exercise. Other factors such as foreign body aspiration or any other diseases need to be considered before reaching a definitive diagnosis of Asthma.
Treatment of Asthma in Children
Treatment of Asthma in children includes educating parents, avoiding triggers, and medicine therapy regimens which help patients to normally function without any restrictions from the symptoms.
Depending on its severity, Asthma is classified into four different levels as under:
- Mild intermittent
- Mild persistent
- Moderate persistent
- Severe persistent
Treatment of pediatric asthma is based on severity and frequency of exacerbations and also on the degree to which lung function has been impaired.
Drugs include short-acting oral or inhaled beta2 agonists, short course of oral corticosteroids or ipratropium – to be taken according to need to immediately relive the acute symptoms in the case of exercise-caused bronchospasm.
Oral corticosteroids may be used in short, limited course for controlling asthma and resolve the moderate-persistent or severe-persistent exacerbations. Ipratropium is not approved for children below the age 12.
Long-term medications include inhaled corticosteroids that are potent and effective. They help in reducing inflammation in airway and improving pulmonary function to greater levels.
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