Children’s Asthma Overview
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that makes it difficult for air to pass through the lungs properly. Nearly 26 million Americans have asthma, 7 million of them being children. It can begin at any age and unfortunately, there is no cure for asthma. However, with proper management, people with asthma can live normal and healthy lives.
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Certain things cause asthma “attacks” or make asthma worse. These are called triggers. When they enter the body, the airways become swollen, inflamed, and create extra mucous, making it difficult to breathe, thus causing an asthma attack, possibly leading to serious complications and sometimes death. The key is to understand the triggers that cause asthma. Sometimes, you may not even know you have it until you’re exposed to those triggers. This means one’s living environment is a huge cause and risk factor of asthma. Additionally, genetics plays a role as a risk factor for asthma.
Symptoms of Pediatric Asthma
You may be wondering if your child has asthma, but unsure if it’s something else. If any of these symptoms occur chronically or only around certain triggers, they may have asthma:
- Tight feeling in the chest
- Shortness of breath
However, it’s very possible a variety of other conditions are causing these symptoms such as environmental allergies.
Diagnosis of Asthma
The diagnosis of asthma in children requires a careful review of a child’s current and past medical history, family history, and a physical examination. Specialized testing is sometimes needed to diagnose asthma and to rule out other possible causes of symptoms. Many children with asthma appear and sound completely normal.
Treatment for Pediatric Asthma in Rochester
The optimal treatment of asthma depends upon a number of factors, including the child’s age, the severity and frequency of asthma attacks, and the ability to properly use the prescribed medications. For the great majority of children, asthma treatment can control symptoms, allowing the child to participate fully in all activities, including sports.
Successful treatment of asthma involves three components:
- Controlling/avoiding asthma triggers
- Regularly monitoring asthma symptoms and lung function
- Understanding how and when to use medications to treat asthma