Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition in which the airways undergo changes when stimulated by allergens or other environmental triggers that causes an inability to breathe properly. There is inflammation, hyperresponsiveness and at least partial obstruction of the airways that cause both short and long-term symptoms. There is also excessive production of mucus.
The heightened responsiveness of asthmatic airways causes reactions to stimuli that trigger little or no change in the airways of normal subjects. The cause of this hyperresponsiveness is not clearly understood. There is some evidence that chronic inflammation may play a role.
The cause of asthma is multifactorial and includes both hereditary and environmental factors. Most cases of asthma are thought to be related to the presence of allergies, however not all persons with allergies have asthma and not all cases of asthma can be attributed to allergies.
Asthma is the most common chronic condition in children younger than 18 years of age. Recent estimates predict that asthma affects approximately 4.8 million children in that age group. This accounts for 5-10% of all children in the US. Children younger than 18 not only represent about one-third of all asthmatics, but the prevalence in this age group is increasing much faster than in adults.
Asthma is treated with a variety of medications, both oral and inhaled. Intravenous medications and oxygen may be necessary in acute attacks.
The Medifocus Guide on Childhood Asthma provides answers to the following important questions and medical issues:
What are the most common symptoms of Childhood Asthma?
Are there any recognized risk factors for developing Childhood Asthma?
What kinds of medical tests are used to establish the diagnosis of Childhood Asthma?
What is the current standard of care for the treatment of Childhood Asthma?
What treatment options are available for the management of Childhood Asthma?
Are there any promising new developments or potential breakthroughs in treatment?
Who are the most notable medical authorities who specialize in Childhood Asthma?
Where are the leading hospitals and centers of research for Childhood Asthma?
What are the most important questions to ask my doctor about Childhood Asthma?
What Your Doctor Reads:
This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes:
Advances in medical management of asthma, headaches, and fatigue. Medical Clinics of North America. 2000
Developing and communicating a long-term treatment plan for asthma. American Family Physician. 2000
Exercise-induced asthma. Medicine & Health, Rhode Island. 2000
Why does airway inflammation persist? Is it failure to treat early?. American Journal of Respiratory & Critical Care Medicine. 2000
Interaction between the growing lung and asthma: role of early intervention. Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology. 2000
Issues in understanding childhood asthma. Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology. 2000
Gastroesophageal reflux disease in asthma: effects of medical and surgical antireflux therapy on asthma control. Annals of Surgery. 2000
Mechanical ventilation for children with status asthmaticus. Respiratory Care Clinics of North America. 2000
Emergency care of asthma. Respiratory Care Clinics of North America. 2000
Ambulatory management of pediatric asthma. Respiratory Care Clinics of North America. 2000
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