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For reasons unknown to scientists at this time, the incidence of asthma is steadily increasing. There is now evidence that parents with children who have asthma do not always realize that the child’s treatment is inadequate
Asthma affects as many as 10% to 12% of children and is the leading cause of chronic illness in children. For reasons unknown to scientists at this time, the incidence of asthma is steadily increasing. Asthma symptoms can begin at any age, but most children have their first asthma symptoms by age five. This illness is characterized by inflammation of the bronchial tubes and increased secretions inside the tubes. 

There is now evidence that parents with children who have asthma do not always realize that the child’s treatment is inadequate. According to the European Respiratory Journal, fewer than two of ten children with asthma are under control. Interviews were conducted with 1284 parents of children who had asthma and were ages 4 to 15 years. The families were from Canada, Greece, Hungary, The Netherlands, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. The Childhood Asthma Control Test (C-ACT) was used to determine how often asthma control was achieved in the children and adolescents studied.

The researchers concluded that complete asthma control is uncommon in children all over the world and that, overall, parents do not understand the child’s asthma severity and believe there is control when there is not. Dr. Carroll and associates believe that this is a major potential barrier to the successful treatment of asthma in children. While around 70% of the parents described their child’s asthma as mild, 40% had a score that indicated inadequate control. The study also found children whose parents who worry about the medication side effects are more likely to have poor asthma control. The most common side effect from steroid inhalers is thrush, an uncommon but treatable fungal mouth infection.

The American Lung Association tells us that asthma control involves monitoring symptoms and planning ahead for potential emergencies. In addition, control of the condition includes reduction of the triggers of asthma attacks, such as smoking and not using medications appropriately. Respiratory researchers also found that children tend to be better than their parents at determining their asthma control. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that around 250,000 people worldwide die from asthma related causes. In 2007, a CDC study found that more than 34 million people worldwide had been diagnosed with asthma during their lifetimes.

Asthma is a lung disease that is one of the most common long-term diseases of children. Uncontrolled asthma causes repeated episodes of breathlessness, wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness. In most cases, there is no known cause and sadly, no known cure. It can only be controlled by using prescribed medication, treatments, and through prevention. Some children with asthma may rely on quick-relief medications along with long-term control medications to keep their asthma in check. Parents should work closely with a physician who specializes in asthma to help find the right treatment for their child.

There are many things that can trigger asthma and it is important for those who have the condition to avoid these. The CDC reports triggers as tobacco smoke, dust mites, outdoor air pollution, cockroach allergen, pet dander, mold, chemicals and perfumes, and wood smoke. Specialists in the allergy and asthma field recommend avoidance of these triggers to control asthma symptoms.

  • Carroll, W.D., Wildhaber, J., & Brand, P.L.P. (2011). Parent misperception of control in childhood asthma: The room to breathe survey. Retrieved from: http://erj.ersjournals.com/content/early/2011/06/20/09031936.00048911.abstract
  • Schultz, E. (2011). Reuters.com. Parents underestimate kids’ asthma symptoms. Retrieved from: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/14/us-parents-asthma-idUSTRE76D4AS20110714?feedType=RSS&feedName=healthNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+reuters%2FhealthNews+%28News+%2F+US+%2F+Health+News%29
  • Photo courtesy of themohers on Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/30912734@N04/3631079012/