Bronchial asthma is a chronic respiratory disease caused by inflammation in the lower respiratory tract. Although this condition in a child can lead to breathing problems, it is manageable. With proper understanding, constant medical monitoring and monitoring, taking all prescribed medications, parents and children can control asthma.
Features of bronchial asthma in childhood
Bronchial asthma is different in children and adults for several reasons. For example, in children it may be more difficult to diagnose, child may not be able to use some medications available for adults. We will discuss some of the special problems of children with asthma and their parents.
For starters, it is worth knowing that bronchial asthma, also known as reactive respiratory disease, is a chronic respiratory tract pathology. It is characterized by inflammation with edema of the lower respiratory tract, hypersensitivity of the bronchi to various substances – triggers. Against the background of an asthmatic attack, a narrowing of the airways is formed, and obstacles are created for the normal passage of air into the lungs.
Chronic inflammation of the respiratory mucosa is the most common feature. bronchial asthma. When it comes into contact with triggers (provocateurs), some of the cells lining the airways release chemicals (mediators) that cause inflammation. This causes swelling of the walls of the bronchi, spasm of muscle elements and a narrowing of the lumen of the respiratory tract. Inflammation after contact with the trigger and the attack can last for weeks. In most children with asthma, inflammation is observed continuously, with temporary attenuation and exacerbations. Some medicines, if taken continuously, can help prevent or significantly reduce inflammation.
Hypersensitivity to irritants
Another characteristic of asthma is an increased sensitivity of the respiratory tract of the child. When inflammation occurs in the airways, the airways become more sensitive to external influences. When the airways are more sensitive, the child is more likely to suffer from asthma symptoms when he is exposed to triggers that worsen the condition. When inflammation decreases, the airways become less sensitive (reactive), and the child is less likely to show asthma symptoms when exposed to factors that provoke asthma attacks.
Airway obstruction, difficulty breathing
In addition to inflammation, as bronchial asthma progresses, further airway obstruction is formed, making breathing much more difficult. The obstruction is caused by a spasm of the smooth muscles surrounding the bronchi. This is also called bronchospasm. Bronchospasm causes a further, marked narrowing of the inflamed airways, which makes breathing difficult. In some children with asthma, the glands in the walls of the bronchial mucosa produce an excess of thick, viscous, vitreous mucus, which makes breathing more difficult, leading to an attack of suffocation.
How does asthma in children differ from adult?
Both children and adults with bronchial asthma have inflammation and airway obstruction. However, asthma in children is different from asthma in adults for a number of other reasons. Children are not diagnosed with asthma until they have several consecutive attacks. Many children with asthma before the age of 3 have a high probability that the disease will disappear in the next few years. This is especially true for a child who does not have a family history of allergies or asthma, or if the child has begun to suffocate due to an infection.
Diagnosing asthma is also more difficult, especially in children under the age of 5 years. In adults, it is quite easy to check for lung function. This does not apply to small children who are hard to persuade to blow strongly into a spirometer, a device that measures the capacity of the lungs.Therefore, the doctor often must assume that the diagnosis is asthma, and treat it without being really sure. Also, an adult patient can tell the doctor if he suffocates, feels discomfort, wakes up at night and has difficulty breathing.
Night rattling and shortness of breath are a common symptom of asthma in both adults and children, and often precede day symptoms. In a small child, someone from the outside must observe the symptoms. If the child’s symptoms do not cause sufficient anxiety to wake the parent at night, they often remain unrecognized for a long time. This often leads to a delay in identifying symptoms and seeking help. Thus, children are often not examined by a doctor until an attack requires emergency care.
Treatment of asthma in children: what medications are available?
A key part of treating asthma is monitoring patients to determine how they feel and adjust medications accordingly. Objective measurements of airflow in the lungs are part of this monitoring. This can be done using a spirometer in the doctor’s office or at home, using a portable device. But most young children (again, under 5) cannot effectively use these devices, which require patients to follow instructions and blow into the tube. This means that it is not possible to measure lung volume over time, making it difficult to make decisions about the use of drugs for a small child.
Small children do not have as many treatment options as adults, because many asthma drugs have not been studied in pediatrics. In addition, young children can not always take medicine in the same way as adults. Adults can use nebulizers and nebulizers to take aerosol preparations, while young children should use face masks. The exact dose is calculated for children of different ages using different drug delivery systems, but all of these options and problems make it difficult to treat childhood asthma.
Older children can use inhalers, a good time to teach children to use inhalers – when they go to school. The key difference between young children and adults is that the side effects of medication in children are not well understood. While adults can describe how they feel as a result of taking medication, it is difficult in children. Consequently, the side effects described for drugs are determined on the basis of data for adults or observation of symptoms that can be detected in children (for example, hand trembling or tremor). A child may have difficulty eating, sleeping, or being active while taking the medicine, but these symptoms are difficult for them to report, they are detected only when there are significant deviations in behavior or well-being. All these differences make treating children with asthma a little more difficult than therapy in adults.