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  • Pediatric Asthma Wellness and Prevention

    Posted on April 3rd, 2012 Patricia No comments

    The severity of a child’s asthma and his/her overall health will greatly influence the prescribed asthma management plan. A child may have to undergo additional testing to evaluate the severity of the disease and rule out other possible diagnoses that have similar symptoms.

    Preventative measures must be taken because of a child’s increased risk for developing asthma and other obstructive airway diseases. Children’s respiratory systems have multiple differences from the adult systems that predispose children to asthma. They have narrow airways and decreased amounts of muscle resulting in less support in the respiratory system.

    Heredity is a major determinant for children developing asthma. Children with one asthmatic parent have a 25 percent risk of becoming asthmatic themselves; if both parents have had the disease, the risk for the child to develop asthma increases to 50 percent. African American children and the urban poor are at increased risk. Environmental factors such as poor living conditions, a history of low birth weight, maternal smoking, a large family size, crowded living conditions, frequent infections and severe allergies as an infant are also risk factors. It is incumbent on families and physicians to be alert for the possibility of introducing potentially life-threatening circumstances to a child’s relatively vulnerable airways.

    Children with asthma also incur increased risk for developing obesity. Reduced exercise endurance and exposure to the side effects of oral steroids increase the probability of weight gain and poor physical performance.

    This does not only produce serious physical risk to children, but has significant emotional consequences because of the impact obesity may have on self-esteem.

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