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Childhood Asthma: Definition, Epidemiology, Diagnosis


Several severe medical conditions are considered very serious and can cause concern for doctors. What is more, some diseases are not extremely dangerous in adults, but when they occur in children and adolescents, additional measures and treatments are required since the kids’ bodies are much weaker. One such condition is pediatric asthma, and strenuous efforts are needed to decrease hospital admission and mortality rates. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the definition, epidemiology, clinical presentation, possible complications, and diagnosis of childhood asthma.

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The definition of asthma provides enough information about this condition. According to Mayo Clinic Staff (2019), pediatric asthma is a childhood respiratory chronic disease marked by the airways and lungs becoming easily inflamed if exposed to several specific triggers or allergens, which causes difficulty breathing. It is similar to asthma in adults, but as children’s airways are small, this condition is more serious and dangerous for them.

All over the world, asthma is the sixteenth cause among the main reasons for years lived with disability. According to researchers, “currently, there are about 6.2 million children under the age of eighteen with asthma,” which is a disturbing statistic (“Asthma facts and figures,” 2019). Due to several factors, mortality, severity, and prevalence of asthma vary greatly geographically. For example, low-middle income countries have the most asthma-related mortality, and the prevalence of this condition is greater in high-income ones (Dharmage et al., 2019). Unfortunately, the medical efforts made to improve the situation are not yet enough, and further research and developments are required.

Asthma clinical presentations may be common and additional, and they typically vary from child to child. Common symptoms of pediatric asthma generally include:

  • frequent and severe cough that may occur during exercising, sleeping, or being in the cold air (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2019);
  • fatigue and shortness of breath;
  • a wheezing noise when breathing out;
  • chest tightness or congestion (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2019).

As for additional signs that may or may not occur, they are:

  • bronchitis or delayed recovery after infections;
  • lingering cough;
  • trouble sleeping (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2019);
  • bouts of wheezing or coughing.

As asthma is an extremely severe condition, especially in children, it may cause several serious complications. It may happen because of uncommon allergens or delayed treatment; that is why it is of vital importance for parents to pay attention to any symptoms their children may show. These complications typically include:

  • signs that significantly interfere with studying, sports, play, and some other usual activities;
  • poor sleep and severe fatigue;
  • permanent lung function decline (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2019);
  • extreme asthma attacks that require hospital care or emergency treatment.

Though it may be challenging to diagnose pediatric asthma, a medical worker has several ways to do that. To begin with, a doctor studies all symptoms and their seriousness and frequency. Then, lung function tests and exhaled nitric oxide tests may be needed (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2019). Nevertheless, such options are appropriate mostly for adolescents, while results for kids under five years old may not be accurate. In such cases, doctors rely on information related to symptoms.

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To conclude, one may say that it is hard to underestimate the seriousness of this condition occurring in children and adolescents. In addition to health problems, this disease often deprives children of the opportunity to live a normal life and enjoy everyday activities. PICOT question related to this issue is: In pediatric patients with asthma (P), does teaching caregivers and health providers asthma control (I) as opposed to just treating the patient (C) decrease hospital admission rates and mortality rates (O) over five years (T)?


Asthma facts and figures. (2019). Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Web.

Dharmage, S. C., Perret, J. L., & Custovic, A. (2019). Epidemiology of asthma in children and adults. Frontiers in Pediatrics, 7(246).

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2019). Childhood asthma. Mayo Clinic. Web.

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