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Infantile Asthma

Respiratory MedicinePaediatrics

Infantile Asthma is a common chronic respiratory condition affecting children's airways and lungs. Asthma leads to inflammation and swelling of the airways, along with excessive mucus production, resulting in narrowed airways and causing difficulty breathing, coughing, wheezing, and chest tightness.

Symptoms

Symptoms of Infantile Asthma may include:

  • Difficulty breathing: Children may feel shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, especially during asthma attacks.
  • Coughing: Persistent dry cough or cough with phlegm is one of the main symptoms of pediatric asthma, significantly worsening at night or after exercise.
  • Wheezing: Wheezing or whistling sounds may be heard during breathing due to narrowed airways.
  • Chest tightness, pressure, or pain: Children may feel discomfort or pressure in the chest.
  • Breathing problems after exercise: Children may experience breathing difficulties after exercising.

Factors

Various factors, including genetic factors, environmental factors, and individual immune system responses can cause Infantile Asthma:

  • Genetic factors: Asthma has a genetic predisposition, and if family members have asthma or other allergic diseases, the risk of children developing asthma increases.
  • Environmental factors: Air pollution, smoke, mould, pollen, animal dander, and dust mites can trigger asthma symptoms.
  • Infections: Respiratory infections, especially viral infections, commonly occurring in childhood, can sometimes promote the development of asthma.
  • Allergies: Food allergies, drug allergies, and other allergies can also trigger asthma attacks.

Diagnosis

Diagnosing childhood asthma typically relies on a combination of medical history, symptoms, and a series of respiratory function tests. Doctors may conduct pulmonary function tests for older children to measure airflow and lung capacity. For younger children, diagnosis is usually based on medical history, physical examination, and observation of treatment response.

Diagnosis methods may include the following:

Medical history inquiryDoctors will ask detailed questions about the child's and family's past asthma history and symptoms.
Clinical examinationincludes listening to the lungs to check for wheezing and other respiratory sounds.
SpirometryMeasures lung gas volume using a respiratory device, including maximum inspiratory and expiratory volume. Assesses lung function to determine if lung volume and function are average.
Bronchodilator reversibility testingPatients inhale a bronchodilator and undergo pulmonary function testing. Lung function is tested again afterwards to observe any significant improvement. This assesses changes in lung function in asthma patients after using a bronchodilator to determine if asthma is reversible.
Fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO)Measures exhaled nitric oxide concentration to assess the level of airway inflammation. Helps diagnose asthma and monitor treatment effectiveness in asthma patients.
Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF)Measures changes in peak expiratory flow at different times. They are used to monitor changes in lung function in asthma patients and evaluate treatment effectiveness.
Bronchial provocation testingInduces airway constriction by having the patient inhale a bronchial provocation agent (such as methacholine), then measures expiratory flow or other relevant indicators. They are used to assess airway sensitivity and responsiveness in asthma patients to aid diagnosis.
Allergy testingConducts skin prick or blood tests to identify potential allergens causing wheezing.
Imaging studiesDoctors may recommend a chest X-ray to rule out other lung problems when other lung issues are excluded.


 

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