Chronic asthma is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes airways to tighten and narrow, causing difficulty in breathing. It is an chronic allergic condition which often begins in early childhood.
The symptoms, frequency, severity and duration of an asthma episode vary from child to child. Severity of the attack depends of the extent to which bronchi are narrowed. In a severe attack, the child may be so breathless that he may not be able to speak and may show a bluish colour of the skin and mucus membranes due to lack of oxygen in the blood. In such cases emergency medical care is needed.
Symptoms in children
If any of the symptoms persist, you should consult a medical practitioner whether your child has asthma. The diagnosis of asthma involves checking whether you have a family history of asthma, medical history of hay fever, eczema, itchy eyes, allergies, frequent colds, nasal stuffiness and persistent cough etc. Physical examination involves examination of the nasal passages and listening to the lungs.
has to be done to find out the exact cause of asthma. A chest X-ray, blood test
and sputum test are usually done along with a number of other tests for evaluating
the airway responsiveness and allergies. The airway responsiveness tests include
Spirometry, exercise challenge test and methacholine inhalation tests etc and
allergy prick skin test to confirm the presence or absence of allergies.
Other possible causes of shortness of breath, wheeze, cough and chest tightness
must be investigated in order to rule these out heart disease, other lung conditions
Spirometry, a breathing test which measures the amount and rate at which air can pass through airways is a very dependable method of making a diagnosis. But with children under the age of five years, this test is not usually done because of the effort and cooperation required.
If asthma is triggered by allergy to a particular substance, one should take measures to avoid such allergens. Treatment includes medications and drugs which are mostly inhaled. Drugs mainly belong to two groups (a) bronchodilators which are used to dilate the airways like Beta 2 agonists such as salbutamol, terbutaline (short acting drugs) and longer acting drug like salmeterol etc. and Anticholinergics such as Theophylline, not commonly used in children. These drugs are quick acting and relieve the symptoms of wheezing, coughing and breathlessness (b) anti-inflammatory drugs such as Corticosteroids and sodium cromoglicate which is a good first-line preventative treatment in children. Read more on Asthma
Questions & Answers
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