What is the difference between obstructive bronchitis and asthma? Diagnosis of asthma in children

Bronchial asthma is an insidious disease that can reach anyone without looking at his age. An asthma attack usually develops suddenly, exhalation is difficult, breathing quickens, wheezing wheezes when breathing and a dry persistent cough. Due to difficulty in exhaling, air lingers in the chest, and it swells, which causes compression and pain in the chest. An asthma attack can last from a few minutes to several days, often it stops spontaneously. However, waiting until the attack is unacceptable, severe asphyxiation can lead to complete closure of the respiratory tract, which is already life threatening.

In recent years, the number of children suffering from various types of bronchial obstruction has increased significantly. This is largely due to the deterioration of the environmental situation, malnutrition and the growth of acute respiratory infections. All of them contribute to an increase in allergic diseases in children and bronchial asthma, which is also based on allergic inflammation of the respiratory tract, leading to increased secretion of mucus and the development of bronchospasm.

The main reason for the development of an asthma attack in children is the inhalation of allergens – artificial fur particles from toys, animal hair, dust mites, plant pollen, mold, and so on. Often, exacerbation of asthma attacks is observed after physical exertion, acute respiratory viral infections, intake of cold air and tobacco smoke in the respiratory tract, stress, medication and the use of harmful food. Many children with asthmatics have a hereditary predisposition to the disease.

In most sick children, the first symptoms of bronchial asthma appear before the age of three. More often than not, a child develops a flu or other acute viral infection, which causes shortness of breath and a dry cough. According to medical statistics, such a course of acute respiratory viral infections is more observed in boys than in girls. However, having noticed a child’s shortness of breath and suffocation during an illness, one should not fall into despair. These symptoms are observed not only with asthma, in most cases they simply signal the onset of the development of bronchial obstruction in the child against the background of airway inflammation.

Obstructive bronchitis after antibiotic treatment and inhalation usually goes away, and with bronchial asthma attacks can be repeated not only in acute respiratory diseases, but also in interaction with an allergen. Obstructive bronchitis will be repeated every time as soon as the child picks up some kind of infection, but as the child grows and his bronchi diameter increases, there will be no significant manifestations of shortness of breath and suffocation.

Usually, boys over 10 years of age with bronchial obstruction with infectious diseases no longer exist. But untimely or incorrect treatment of obstructive bronchitis sometimes leads to the development of bronchial asthma. A particularly high risk of developing bronchial asthma against the background of obstructive bronchitis in the following categories of children:

– having a hereditary predisposition to allergies;
– in which obstructive bronchitis occurs without temperature;
– in which there are more than three obstructive episodes per year.

According to most doctors, all children over the age of 3 years, in whom all colds occur with obstructive manifestations, can be diagnosed with asthma. The fact is that in children up to 3 years of age, the volume of the lungs is very small and narrowing of the bronchi in them can be caused by various reasons. If difficulty breathing in a child continues at an older age, then you should think about asthma.

Many parents , having heard the diagnosis of bronchial asthma, begin to look for miraculous ways that would completely cure the child. Unfortunately, bronchial asthma cannot be cured by any of the known remedies. Drug treatment, breathing exercises, inhalations help to alleviate the condition of the patient, but do not relieve him of the disease. But parents should not despair, as practice shows in most children, asthma sooner or later passes by itself. Even if asthma attacks do not stop at all, with proper treatment under the supervision of an experienced doctor, their frequency and severity is much reduced.

To obtain a positive effect from the treatment of bronchial asthma, it is very important to correctly diagnose it, which is carried out in several stages:

Stage 1 – determination of the allergen provoking asthma based on the collection of anamnesis from the story of the parents and the child about the specific features of the course of bronchial asthma. If necessary, an allergist can prescribe a skin test or an immunological study of the blood of a child to identify an allergen.

Stage 2 – determination of the degree of respiratory failure by spirometry, during which the main indicators of the child’s breathing are revealed. Spirometry helps to identify FEV1 – the volume of forced expiration in one second and FVC – the forced vital capacity of the lungs. These indicators allow us to assess the severity and reversibility of bronchial obstruction. Unfortunately, young children under 5 years old are not treated. Normally, the Tiffno index (IT) obtained by dividing the FEV1 indicator by the FVC indicator should be in the range of 0.8-0.9. If IT is below this norm, then this allows you to suspect bronchial asthma in a child.

For daily monitoring of the condition of the child, you can buy a portable peak flow meter, with which measure the maximum speed of exhaled air. Peak flowmetry is performed to adjust treatment and prevent exacerbation of bronchial asthma.

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