March 4th 2019
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that makes it difficult for air to pass through your lungs properly. It can start at any age and nearly 26 million Americans have asthma, 7 million of them being children. Unfortunately, there is no cure of asthma. However, with proper management, children living with asthma can live completely normal and healthy lives without asthma.
The Causes of Asthma
Asthma makes the airways become inflamed, narrow and swell, and produce extra mucus, which makes it difficult to breathe. The swollen airways in the lungs become sensitive to certain triggers, and when those triggers enter the body, those airways create extra mucus making it difficult to breathe which leads to asthma attacks, complications and sometimes death. The key is to understand the triggers that cause asthma. Sometimes, you may not even know you have it until you’re exposed to those triggers. This means the environment you live in is a huge cause and risk factor of asthma. Additionally, genetics is a risk factor for asthma. If either parent of a child has asthma, and they display the symptoms of asthma, then you should get them tested.
Symptoms of Asthma
You may be wondering if your child has asthma, but unsure if it’s something else. If any of these symptoms occur chronically or only around certain triggers, they may have asthma:
- Tight feeling in the chest
- Shortness of breath
Diagnosis and Treatment for Asthma
The pulmonologist will need to conduct tests to diagnose your child. First, they will ask symptoms, medical history, experiences, etc. to get a good sense if asthma is a possibility. After that, the most common test is called a Spirometry, in which the doctor will use a device to measure the air flow of the lungs.
Typically, if your child has the above symptoms, has a parent with asthma and also has allergies (including skin allergies), your pediatrician will conduct lung functioning test. After that, usually, a trial period of asthma medication will be given, depending on the results, with a follow-up appointment to monitor the outcome.
If you think your child has asthma, call The Pediatric Lung and Allergy Center at (703) 289-1410