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Childhood Asthma Underdiagnosed, Undertreated

Diagnosis of asthma in young children often a diagnostic dilemma

MONDAY, Oct. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Early childhood asthma is often underrecognized because of a wide variation in symptoms and because symptoms are common to a number of childhood illnesses, according to a commentary in the October issue of Clinical Pediatrics.

Howard Eigen, M.D., of the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, discusses challenges in the recognition, diagnosis and treatment of asthma, and provides recommendations for the management of wheezing, and the diagnosis and management of asthma in young children.

The author points out that diagnosing asthma in young "wheezers" is challenging because asthma symptoms vary widely among children. Asthma should be suspected in children with recurrent wheezing (especially if brought on by viral illness or exercise), chronic cough and bronchitis, recurrent pneumonia, and increased bronchial hyper-reactivity. Eigen concludes with an overview of asthma treatment.

"Establishing a diagnosis of asthma in young children who wheeze requires comprehensive assessment of symptom type and frequency, and key clinical history characteristics," the author concludes. "It is, therefore, important for physicians to rule out other diseases before making a diagnosis of and administering treatment for asthma."

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Physician's Briefing
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