Childhood Asthma and the Reasons It Can Be Difficult to Diagnose
Asthma is a condition that begins for many people while they are children. The causes of asthma in children are linked to issues such as sensitivity to airborne particles, having a family history of asthma, and obesity. Though asthma is a common enough condition in children, it is also a condition that can often be difficult to diagnose during that stage of a person’s life. With these points made, these are the symptoms of asthma in children and the primary reasons why it is a condition that is difficult to diagnose during childhood.
Typical Symptoms of Asthma in Children
Understanding the typical symptoms of asthma in children is important for parents. Knowing what the symptoms are can help parents to recognize that their child might need to be tested for asthma by their doctor. The typical symptoms of asthma in children include:
- Breathing difficulty
- Coughing (this is often particularly prevalent at night)
- Tightness in the chest and pain (children often describe this symptom as a sore tummy)
Why Asthma Can Be Difficult to Detect in Children
Though the symptoms that indicate the presence of asthma in children are fairly straightforward at face value, the reality is that it is a condition that is difficult to diagnose during the childhood years. Among the primary reasons asthma is so challenging to diagnose in children is that wheezing – a primary asthma symptom – is common during childhood and can be caused by other conditions, such as the common cold, flu, or chest infections. This is particularly the case for very young children.
Statistics show that over one-third of children under the age of two will present with wheezing at some point in time. This wheezing generally goes away as they get older and their airways continue to grow. However, it is when this wheezing does not go away that the possibility of asthma becomes more likely.
Asthma Treatment for Children
When it comes to the topic of asthma treatment for children, it is important to note that doctors are going to be heavily focused on making sure that they receive the right type and dose of medication required to keep their condition under control. It is common for doctors to take a step up/step down approach to asthma treatment in child patients. If the current medication dosage is not successfully controlling the problem, they will often choose to step it up. They will likewise often decide to step down the dosage if the child’s asthma is well controlled.
The list of medications that are used to control asthma symptoms in children include:
- Short-acting bronchodilators (Ventolin/Salbutamol)
- Combination inhalers
- Leukotriene modifiers
- Inhaled corticosteroids
The majority of medications used to treat asthma in children are given through devices that allow them to breathe it into their lungs directly. This includes the use of dry powder inhalants, metered-dose inhalers, and nebulizers.
If Your Child Could Have Asthma, Speaking to a Doctor Is Crucial
If you suspect that your child may have asthma, you must speak with your doctor so that they can be tested. Your doctor can perform a lung function test known as spirometry. This test determines how well a child’s lungs are functioning by measuring the amount of air that they can exhale. It also measures how quickly they can do so.
Asthma is a serious condition that must be controlled through medical treatment. For this reason, it is important to identify it as early as possible in children.