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Childhood Asthma
(AM003)

Introduction


Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition in which the airways undergo changes when stimulated by allergens or other environmental triggers that causes an inability to breathe properly. There is inflammation, hyperresponsiveness and at least partial obstruction of the airways that cause both short and long-term symptoms. There is also excessive production of mucus.

The heightened responsiveness of asthmatic airways causes reactions to stimuli that trigger little or no change in the airways of normal subjects. The cause of this hyperresponsiveness is not clearly understood. There is some evidence that chronic inflammation may play a role.

The cause of asthma is multifactorial and includes both hereditary and environmental factors. Most cases of asthma are thought to be related to the presence of allergies, however not all persons with allergies have asthma and not all cases of asthma can be attributed to allergies.

Asthma is the most common chronic condition in children younger than 18 years of age. Recent estimates predict that asthma affects approximately 4.8 million children in that age group. This accounts for 5-10% of all children in the US. Children younger than 18 not only represent about one-third of all asthmatics, but the prevalence in this age group is increasing much faster than in adults.

Asthma is treated with a variety of medications, both oral and inhaled. Intravenous medications and oxygen may be necessary in acute attacks.

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This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes:


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