What Causes Asthma In Children
The exact cause of asthma is unknown. Genetics and environment likely play a role in which children get asthma.
An asthma attack can happen when your child is exposed to an asthma trigger. An asthma trigger is something that can set off or worsen asthma symptoms. Different triggers can cause different types of asthma:
- Allergic asthma is caused by allergens. Allergens are substances that cause an allergic reaction. They can include
- Dust mites
Asthma triggers may be different for each child and can change over time.
Research For Your Health
The NHLBI is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health the Nations biomedical;research;agency that makes important scientific discovery to improve health and save lives. We are committed to advancing science and translating discoveries into clinical practice to promote the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders, including asthma. Learn about the current and future NHLBI efforts to improve health through research and scientific discovery.
Know The Asthma Symptoms In Children
Asthma affects as many as 10% to 12% of children in the United States and is the leading cause of chronic illness in children. For unknown reasons, the incidence of asthma in children is steadily increasing. While asthma symptoms can begin at any age, most children have their first asthma symptoms by age 5.
Not all children with asthma wheeze. Chronic coughing with asthma may be the only obvious sign, and a childâs asthma may go unrecognized if the cough is attributed to recurrent bronchitis.
For more detail, see WebMDâs Asthma in Children.
Don’t Miss: Can You Have Asthma In The Military
Other Childhood Asthma Clinical Presentations:
In clinical practice, there are different clinical presentations of symptoms that point to an underlying diagnosis of childhood asthma, and clinical improvement can occur in response to starting a child on preventive asthma therapy, such as a daily-inhaled corticosteroid and use of bronchodilator therapy for acute episodes.
Association Between Childhood Asthma And Copd
Children with asthma have an increased risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in adulthood. Specifically, it has been shown that children who smoke tobacco and also have asthma are at increased risk for developing low lung function and COPD as adults, when compared to smokers who did not have asthma in childhood .
Also Check: Does Walmart Sell Over The Counter Inhalers
Will Your Child Outgrow Asthma
Once a person’s airways become sensitive, they remain that way for life. About half of the children who have asthma have a noticeable decrease in symptoms by the time they become adolescentsâtherefore, appearing to have “outgrown” their asthma. However, about half of these children will develop asthma symptoms again in their 30s or 40s. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict whose symptoms will decrease during adolescence and whose will return later in life.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/01/2019.
Adult Phenotypes Of Asthma
Late Onset Eosinophilic
Characterized by both clinical and biologic features of later onset, predominately female, and elevated sputum and serum eosinophils. Late-onset eosinophilic asthma is defined clinically by adult-onset, severe disease and is associated with sinusitis and less allergic sensitization compared to early onset disease. Biologically patients have increased IL-5 and IL-13 in the airways and elevated eosinophils in the sputum and serum . No cut off for sputum and serum eosinophils have been universally agreed upon however it is generally accepted that a sputum eosinophil count of >2% or a serum eosinophil count of >300 cells/uL indicates eosinophilic asthma . Despite a high prevalence of positive skin prick tests this form of asthma appears to be less allergic but is often associated with sinusitis, nasal polyps, and aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease . A family history of asthma is seen less frequently than those with early onset asthma . This type of asthma can be relatively steroid resistant but biologic therapies targeting T2 pathways have been shown to be highly effective in this group of patients .
Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis
Link Between Early Transient Wheeze and COPD
Recommended Reading: Does Cold Weather Make Asthma Worse
Who Strategy For Prevention And Control Of Asthma
Asthma is included in the WHO Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
WHO is taking action to extend diagnosis of and treatment for asthma in a number of ways.
The WHO Package of Essential Noncommunicable Disease Interventions was developed to help improve NCD management in primary health care in low-resource settings. PEN includes protocols for the assessment, diagnosis, and management of chronic respiratory diseases , and modules on healthy lifestyle counselling, including tobacco cessation, and self-care.
Reducing tobacco smoke exposure is important for both primary prevention of asthma and disease management. The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is enabling progress in this area as are WHO initiatives such as MPOWER and mTobacco Cessation.
Causes And Triggers Of Childhood Asthma
Common triggers include:
- Airway infections. This includes colds, pneumonia, and sinus infections.
- Allergens. Your child might be allergic to things like cockroaches, dust mites, mold, pet dander, and pollen.
- Irritants. Things like air pollution, chemicals, cold air, odors, or smoke can bother their airways.
- Exercise. It can lead to wheezing, coughing, and a tight chest.
- Stress. It can make your child short of breath and worsen their symptoms.
Don’t Miss: What Allergies Cause Asthma
What You Need To Know About Your Childs Asthma
There are many things to think about and plan for when your child has asthma. It is important to learn as much as you can about the condition. Your doctor and pharmacist are there to help you. Talk to them about any concerns you may have about your childs asthma.;To manage your childs asthma effectively, it is important to know:;
- the pattern of their asthma;
- their;asthma medications what they do and how to help your child take them properly;
- what to do if they have an asthma attack know and follow;asthma first aid.;
Make sure you have an updated written;asthma;action;plan and understand how to use it.;
Remission And Mortality In Childhood Asthma
Asthma remission occurs most commonly between the ages of 1421 years . However, large longitudinal studies have also shown that, among children who wheezed before age 3 years, more than 50% had stopped wheezing either by 6 years of age or by 12 years of age, depending on the study. Remission rates of childhood asthma have been reported between 16 and 60% by early adulthood, according to prior longitudinal studies . The wide variation in reported remission rates is likely due to diverse study designs, varying follow-up periods, and different study populations. In longitudinal studies, children with the following characteristics had higher remission rates: episodic asthma , milder initial asthma severity, less allergic sensitization, less allergic rhinitis, less atopic dermatitis, and male sex .
While the morbidity of childhood asthma is significant, fortunately, mortality from childhood asthma is rare with an estimated 28 deaths per million children with asthma . As with childhood asthma morbidity, there are grave racial disparities in childhood asthma mortality, and black, and Hispanic children suffer disproportionately from the highest mortality rates .
Don’t Miss: Can Someone With Asthma Smoke Weed
Asthma Can Present In Different Ways
For people who do not have a family history of asthma, it may be difficult to spot it in a child, especially if they are showing atypical symptoms. “If you have a baby who was under three and has frequent wheezing episodes, even, especially if they’re treated, and they’re lasting more than a couple of days, that baby is more likely to go on to develop lifelong asthma,” Meyerson says.
She adds that it is crucial for healthcare providers to become more aware of the different ways asthma can present itself in order to better diagnose and treat it. For example, Meyerson says, a person that responds well to medications used to treat asthma, like inhalers, may have the condition even if they’re not exhibiting the most common signs.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, asthma in children may appear like they have a cold or bronchitis. Common symptoms of asthma in children include:
- Coughing, especially at night
- A wheezing or whistling sound, especially when breathing out
- Trouble breathing or fast breathing that causes the skin around the ribs or neck to pull in tightly
- Frequent colds that settle in the chest
- Worsened symptoms around asthma triggers like smokes or allergens like dust mites
How Can You Prevent Asthma
by Health Professional
A common concern of moms and dads – especially when asthma runs in the family – is how they can prevent their children from getting asthma.
New evidence suggests there are things you can do – or not do – to at least reduce the risk your child will develop asthma.
I think the surest way to prevent your child from acquiring asthma is to not give your child the asthma gene. Yet there seems to be quite a bit of evidence that even folks with no history of asthma can develop asthma. Good examples of this are premature births and occupational asthma.
To get a better understanding of why the following may lead to asthma you should read up on the hygiene hypothesis that surmises asthma may be caused by lack of exposure to bacteria, and the microflora hypothesis that surmises asthma is caused by an imbalance of microbes in the intestines.
Likewise, click on the links provided in this post for further reading.
So you want to prevent your child from developing asthma. The following are some things believed to prevent one from developing asthma:
1.Breastfeeding: The child will be exposed to microbes in the mother’s milk that the child’s immune system needs to develop properly.
2.Vaginal birth: The child will be exposed to bacteria for the immune system to develop properly. In fact, studies show c-sections increase the asthma risk by 80 percent as I wrote here.
The following are things you should avoid exposure to:
Broad spectrum antibiotic s:
You May Like: How Do You Control Asthma Without An Inhaler
Know The Symptoms Of An Asthma Attack
An asthma attack is the episode in which bands of muscle surrounding the airways are triggered to tighten. This tightening is called bronchospasm. During the attack, the lining of the airways becomes swollen or inflamed and the cells lining the airways produce more and thicker mucus than normal.
All of these factors — bronchospasm, inflammation, and mucus production — cause symptoms such as difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and difficulty performing normal daily activities. Other symptoms of an asthma attack include:
- Severe wheezing when breathing both in and out
- Coughing that won’t stop
- Feelings of anxiety or panic
- Pale, sweaty face
- Blue lips or fingernails
The severity of an asthma attack can escalate rapidly, so it’s important to treat these asthma symptoms immediately once you recognize them.
Without immediate treatment, such as with your asthma inhaler or bronchodilator, your breathing will become more labored. If you use a peak flow meter at this time, the reading will probably be less than 50%. Many asthma action plans suggest interventions starting at 80% of normal.
As your lungs continue to tighten, you will be unable to use the peak flow meter at all. Gradually, your lungs will tighten so there is not enough air movement to produce wheezing. You need to be transported to a hospital immediately. Unfortunately, some people interpret the disappearance of wheezing as a sign of improvement and fail to get prompt emergency care.
Would You Know If Your Child Has Asthma
Asthma affects as many as 10 to 12 percent of children in the United States and is the leading cause of chronic illness in children.
For unknown reasons, the incidence of asthma in children is steadily increasing.
While asthma symptoms can begin at any age, most children experience symptoms by age 5.
You May Like: Does Losing Weight Help Asthma
The Late Onset Wheeze
These children develop wheezing between age 3 and 6 years. Late-onset wheeze is strongly associated with fractional exhaled nitric oxide levels and sensitization to inhaled allergens at 6 years and at 4 years. There appears to be severe and irreversible reduction in lung function in this phenotype and asthma medication use is common .
What Makes A Child More Likely To Develop Asthma
There are many risk factors for developing childhood asthma. These include:
- Family history of asthma, allergies and atopy .
- Frequent respiratory infections.
- Being African American.
- Being raised in a low-income environment.
In children who are under five years of age, the most common cause of asthma symptoms is upper respiratory viral infections such as the common cold.
You May Like: Asthma Acting Up No Inhaler
Why Are More Children Getting Asthma
No one really knows why more and more children are developing asthma. Suggestions include the following:
- Children are being exposed to more and more allergens such as dust, air pollution and second-hand smoke.
- Children aren’t exposed to enough childhood illnesses to build up their immune systems.
- Lower rates of breastfeeding have prevented important substances of the immune system from being passed on to babies.
Asthma Can Start At Any Age And Since Adult
Many assume asthma is a disease that first turns up in childhood. But you can develop asthma as an adult, and many people do.
Its not uncommon for people at any age, even over 50, to be diagnosed with asthma.
Adults can develop asthma from infections like bronchitis or pneumonia, or from allergies and irritants like smoke or mold, but the cause is often unclear.
Kentucky has the highest percentage of adults with asthma in the country, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. Kentuckys adult death rate from asthma is 10.2 per million, slightly higher than the national norm.
Adult-onset asthma can be more dangerous because its easy to attribute the symptoms to being overweight, out of shape or just getting older. Its critical to get diagnosed quickly and begin treatment before lung function is reduced permanently.
You May Like: How To Strengthen Asthmatic Lungs
How Is Asthma Diagnosed In A Baby
It can be difficult for doctors to diagnose asthma in infants because it is not easy to measure lung function in children who are of preschool age or younger. Diagnosis will rely on the parents and the symptoms they report, as well as the familys medical history.
The doctor will ask about when your baby coughs or has trouble breathing. It may be helpful to take notes at home about the time of day and what your baby is exposed to when symptoms are present. Tell the doctor about any family members that have asthma or allergies.
The Impact Of Asthma On Daily Life
Asthma is often under-diagnosed and under-treated, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
People with under-treated asthma can suffer sleep disturbance, tiredness during the day, and poor concentration. Asthma sufferers and their families may miss school and work, with financial impact on the family and wider community. If symptoms are severe, people with asthma may need to receive emergency health care and they may be admitted to hospital for treatment and monitoring. In the most severe cases, asthma can lead to death.
Don’t Miss: Can You Have Asthma In The Army
What Do The Two Types Have In Common
Exact causes of asthma can be difficult to pinpoint. Allergies and triggers in the environment can cause asthma symptoms and an asthma flare-up, and genetics can also play a role. But the exact reasons why people develop asthma remain unclear.
Childhood asthma and adult-onset asthma share many of the same triggers. For all people with asthma, exposure to one of the following triggers may cause an asthma attack, though different people have different triggers:
Q: Is Asthma More Dangerous For Adults
A: Yes. The;death rate for adult-onset asthma is substantially higher than the death rate for childhood asthma.
One reason may be that adults either ignore asthma symptoms or attribute them;to being overweight, being out of shape or getting older.
Asthma symptoms can also mimic those of other illnesses, including:
Also Check: Ways To Help Asthma Without An Inhaler
What To Expect When You Visit The Doctor
Your doctor;may;ask whether you have any family history of asthma, eczema or hay fever.;
In children, doctors assess the severity of the asthma based on the pattern and frequency of the symptoms.;
Lung function tests are difficult to perform in children younger than;5;years and so are usually only used to diagnose;and assess;severity in children;5;years and older.;
It is recommended that a paediatrician or paediatric respiratory specialist diagnose and manage asthma in infants under 12 months. If your infant is wheezing your doctor should refer to you one of these specialists.;
Presentation Of Asthma: Late Childhood
Symptoms in this age group transition more from discrete episodes of wheezing in response to viral infections to allergic triggered exacerbations. In this age group, exercise-induced symptoms manifest more clearly which may be due to a true change in the clinical presentation of asthma in this age group or also due to sports and exercise becoming a more discreet activity for children of this age wherein caretakers are able to appreciate the symptoms of dyspnea or cough with exertion. In children who avoid or develop a loss of interest in exercise or physical activities, it is important to consider that asthma may be underlying.
Some children in this age group will have few day-to-day symptoms, but have severe asthma attacks in response to specific triggers such as cold weather, cigarette smoke, or seasonal allergies. Virally triggered asthma exacerbations occur in this age group but less often than in the 06 year age range and may contribute to the lower rates of healthcare utilization in this age group as compared with younger years of 04 years .
Recommended Reading: What Does A Nebulizer Do For Asthma