Children, like adults, are susceptible to inflammatory diseases of the respiratory system. Bronchial asthma in adolescents and young children is one of the most common symptoms. She suffers from 5 to 10% of children.
To stop the development of this disease, parents must closely monitor the health of their child. It is important to start treatment in a timely manner and eliminate the causes that provoke the onset of the disease.
What is bronchial asthma
Bronchial asthma is an inflammatory process in the upper respiratory tract, aggravated by irritants. Under their influence, the lumen of the bronchial tree narrows, mucus accumulates on the walls of the bronchi.
This leads to impaired respiratory function, accompanied by swelling and asthma attacks.
Asthma in adolescents is caused by various factors of allergic and non-allergic origin. It is important to recognize the disease provocateur in time and eliminate its effect on the body.
Without proper treatment and constant supervision by a doctor, the disease can get out of control and lead to serious complications.
Features of the development of bronchial asthma in adolescence
According to statistics, the signs of bronchial asthma in 30-50% of adolescents disappear at a transitional age (more often in boys), but reappear as they grow older.
The physiological and emotional changes experienced during puberty leave an imprint on the character of a teenager. For a long time he cannot get used to the changes taking place in his body, adapt in society, find a common language with parents and peers.
During this period, teenagers tend to imitate their idols (not always positive). They cannot cope with anger, resentment, they often fall into a rage, strive to achieve freedom and independence from adults, acquire bad habits that cause poor health.
All systems of the body (endocrine, nervous, immune, etc.) are inextricably linked, and the disruption of at least one of them has a direct effect on the course of asthma.
Additional reasons that can provoke disease progression and inadequate response to treatment are:
- unstable psycho-emotional state;
- bad habits (smoking, drugs, alcohol);
- first sexual intercourse;
- hormonal disruptions;
- infection with sexually transmitted diseases;
- untreated colds and skin diseases;
- pathology of internal organs;
- psychological problems.
The peculiarities of the course of bronchial asthma in adolescents are:
- unstable emotional state;
- increased frequency of nighttime attacks;
- dry obsessive cough;
- shortness of breath.
Boys and girls
Bronchial asthma in adolescents during puberty is more severe than in younger children. It can lead to a lag in physical and intellectual development. During puberty, the disease is especially difficult in girls, since the level of sex hormones in the body changes, which leads to an aggravation of asthma.
In boys, the condition is improved due to the increased production of testosterone, which reduces the body’s sensitivity to allergens.
Often, when signs of illness appear, adolescents try to hide them from their parents, considering them insignificant. Even if the diagnosis is confirmed, adolescents do not want to undergo treatment and use inhalers. They are afraid of ridicule and contempt of their peers, which leads to an exacerbation of the disease and its severe course.
Parents should find an approach to the child, unobtrusively describe the current situation, explain to the teenager what consequences may arise if treatment is not started on time or if the doctor’s instructions are violated.
Against the background of stress, young people can experience a sharp deterioration of the disease, therefore it is important to establish a favorable, friendly atmosphere in the family and the environment of the teenager.
Asthma symptoms in adolescents
The disease occurs due to the increased sensitivity of the bronchi to various irritants. The course of bronchial asthma is especially difficult if the child is prone to atopic dermatitis or is genetically predisposed to this ailment.
Age is one of the indicators that have a direct impact on the development of asthma in adolescents. At this stage, hormonal changes begin, leading to external and internal changes in the body.
Clinical symptoms characterizing the presence of asthma in adolescents:
- runny or stuffy nose;
- the appearance of a dry cough that worsens at night;
- difficulty breathing and shortness of breath on exertion;
- feeling of squeezing in the chest;
- wheezing with wheezing;
- feeling of panic accompanied by lack of air (suffocation);
- increased sweating;
- sleep disturbance;
- increased fatigue and emotional excitability;
- the appearance of a rash and redness (with allergies).
The manifestations of the disease are aggravated by contact with allergens (wool, fluff, pollen, tobacco smoke, dust, and others).
The severity of the disease can vary throughout the patient’s life. Even with the disappearance of the clinical manifestations of asthma (in adolescence), lung function remains impaired, cough persists, and bronchial hyperreactivity.
The disease is classified by severity and has the following forms:
- intermittent – is of an episodic nature, attacks are rare;
- mild – attacks occur no more than 2-3 times a week;
- moderate – seizures every day;
- persistent severe – complicated, with seizures constantly occurring up to several times a day.
Also, bronchial asthma differs in the degree of control over the disease:
- controlled – characterized by the absence of clinical symptoms, the expiratory flow is normal, the use of rapid-response drugs is not required;
- partially controlled – a small number of symptoms, exacerbations no more than 3-4 per year, the use of fast-acting medicines is necessary;
- uncontrolled – is considered as an exacerbation and needs constant monitoring and drug therapy.
Often, early manifestations of bronchial asthma are similar to those of a cold and are perceived by parents as a viral infection. The result is treatment that does not improve the child’s condition.
To make an accurate diagnosis for any suspicious symptoms, the child must be examined by a doctor.
With the help of diagnostic measures, the presence of bronchial asthma in a teenager is determined.
For this, the following studies are carried out:
- blood and sputum tests;
- radiography of the lungs;
- measurement of the maximum expiratory flow rate (to detect narrowing of the bronchial lumen);
- measurement of volume and rate of external respiration;
- skin tests for an allergic reaction;
- load tests (using running, squatting).
Only with the help of early diagnosis is it possible to identify and eliminate negative manifestations and receive effective treatment.
Treatment of bronchial asthma in adolescents
At the initial stage of development, bronchial asthma in adolescents is easily treatable.
For more productive therapy, it is necessary to establish complete control over the disease. It consists in stopping the inflammatory process in the airways, normalizing the respiratory function and maintaining the physical activity of the asthmatic.
There are various methods of treatment, but when choosing drugs, one should take into account the patient’s age and the presence of psychosomatic and neurovegetative disorders (for their further correction).
Depending on the course of the disease, the means of basic and symptomatic therapy are used.
Symptomatic drugs are quick-response drugs and are used to relieve asthma attacks.
Basic drugs (anti-inflammatory, glucocorticosteroid , bronchodilator , anticholinergic, beta2-adrenomimetics) are used for a long time and eliminate inflammatory processes in the respiratory system, dilate the bronchi, and help remove phlegm. They stop the exacerbation of asthma, reduce its manifestations and transfer the disease into a controlled state.
All medicines, to a greater or lesser extent, have side effects, so they must be used strictly according to the doctor’s prescription, precisely observing the indicated dosage and timing of use.
The doctor teaches the teenager the technique of self-control and the correct use of the inhaler during an attack, and his parents – the techniques and methods of providing emergency care.
Carrying out physiotherapeutic procedures provides invaluable help, as it is an additional tool in the treatment of bronchial asthma.
They are carried out both during exacerbations and remission and include:
- breathing exercises;
- phonophoresis and electrophoresis;
- laser therapy;
- ultraviolet irradiation;
- hardening procedures;
- complex massage;
- spa treatment.
Patients with bronchial asthma also need to adhere to proper nutrition, sleep patterns, be outdoors more often, strengthen the immune system and be sure to exclude contact with possible allergens.
Bronchial asthma is a disease that can lead not only to disruption of the adolescent’s usual lifestyle, but also to serious complications, in severe cases – to status asthma, which poses a serious threat to life.
It should be remembered that timely therapy can alleviate the patient’s condition and help take the disease under control.
This will make it possible to transfer it to the stage of long-term remission, exclude the occurrence of exacerbations and remove restrictions in the physical activity of a teenager.