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Asthma, Childhood

Asthma, Childhood Causes

Childhood asthma is caused by certain environmental triggers such as tobacco smoke and allergens. When exposed to such irritants, the airway muscles of affected children will tighten, constrict, and cause asthma symptoms. Triggers vary among children, but the most common triggers include: tobacco smoke, rigorous exercise, abrupt weather changes, environmental pollutants, pollen, mold, and dust mites, among several others. Other factors, such as upper respiratory infections, rhinitis or sinusitis, and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) may also trigger asthma in children.

Asthma, Childhood Definition

Asthma, childhood (childhood asthma), the most chronic illness affecting children, is characterized by continuous inflammation of the airways leading to the lungs.

Asthma, Childhood Diagnosis

The symptoms of childhood asthma may resemble those of other conditions. Therefore, eliminating other possible causes of the symptoms is vital in diagnosing the disease. Diagnosis for childhood asthma is mostly based on clinical presentations and family history. For children aged 6 and above, a pulmonary function testing or a spirometry may be used to measure the amount of air inhaled. In younger children, the disease may be harder to diagnose, as most children eventually outgrow asthma-like symptoms as they grow.

Asthma, Childhood Symptoms and Signs

The symptoms of childhood asthma usually resemble those of adult asthma, including coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, as well as chest congestion or tightness. In affected infants, the condition manifests with a rattly cough plus recurrent bronchitis. Childhood asthma inflames the airways, making them overly sensitive and prone to constricting or tightening when irritated.

Asthma, Childhood Treatment

In treating childhood asthma, the main objectives are to get the asthma under control, minimize symptoms, decrease or eliminate further attacks, enable children to engage in physical activity without limitations, minimize the use of inhalers, as well as prevent any side effects from medications. Preventive drugs such as anti-inflammatory medications and a fast-acting bronchodilator (inhaler) lessen the inflammation in the airways, thus opening them up and allowing affected children to breathe easier. Bronchodilators are fast-acting medications used to stop the symptoms of an attack in progress. Symptoms and triggers often change over time, so treatment is periodically evaluated and updated to ensure that childhood asthma is always under control.

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