11–14% of Children Aged 5 years & Older Currently Report Asthma Symptoms
Children are the most vulnerable and innocent members of the family and need special care and attention from elders. National Children’s Day highlights the need to raise awareness of children’s welfare and ensure a better future. On children’s day, Alkem has pledged to spread awareness about paediatric asthma through its initiative “Healthy Lungs”. Healthy Lungs portal (www.thehealthylungs.com) is a one-stop knowledge repository to consume knowledge about lung diseases. The portal also acts as an experience-sharing platform for patients with access to the patient community.
Asthma is a major noncommunicable disease (NCD), affecting both children and adults, and is the most common chronic disease among children. Asthma is often underdiagnosed and under-treated, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Doctors have highlighted the importance of access to accurate information for better management of asthma in children. This children’s day Healthy Lungs has taken the initiative to spread the right information to parents to take informed decisions for their kids.
Recently published epidemiological data on asthma demonstrate that India has 37.8 million cases of asthma and India contributes to over 42% of all global asthma deaths. In the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC), the global prevalence of wheezing was estimated to be 11.6% for 6-7-year-old children and 13.7% for 13-14-year-old children. In India, asthma is responsible for 10 million missed school days each year and is the third principal cause of child hospitalization. Infants and preschoolers are exposed to indoor and outdoor air pollution and second-hand smoke, and a life-long increased risk of chronic respiratory diseases, such as asthma. India ranks 2nd in traffic-related pollution-caused asthma among children. Worldwide, 11–14% of children aged 5 years and older currently report asthma symptoms and an estimated 44% of these are related to environmental exposures. Untreated asthma can aggravate its severity and often lead to lung attacks requiring immediate hospitalization.
Asthma is a recurring inflammatory lung disorder in which certain stimuli (triggers) inflame the airways and cause them to temporarily narrow, resulting in difficulty in breathing. The diagnosis is based on a child’s repeated wheezing episodes, a family history of asthma, and sometimes the results of tests that measure how well the lungs function. Although asthma symptoms can often be prevented by avoiding triggers, long-term treatment of inhaled corticosteroids and bronchodilators is required for living a healthy life.
One of the major challenges in managing paediatric asthma is, parents should not ignore respiratory symptoms in their children and shall consult with a paediatrician at the earliest. It is extremely important to educate parents on the effective and regular use of inhalation devices to keep their kids’ asthma in control.
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