Did you know that childhood asthma causes more school absences than any other single pediatric disorder?
And the problem seems to be growing. The past 10 to 15 years has seen a dramatic in newly diagnosed asthma cases in the U.S.
What is Asthma?
Asthma can be described as obstruction of the lungs’ airflow to varying degrees, and extreme sensitivity in the airway to any number of environmental conditions. You might be surprised to learn that asthmas is the most common of all chronic childhood illnesses. It is also one of the leading causes of hospitalizations for acute care of children. In the U.S., asthma affects nearly 5 million children under the age of 18.
What are the Symptoms?
During an acute attach of asthma, the child typically appears anxious and exhibits wheezing and painful and/or labored breathing. This breathing difficulty results when the rib cage puts pressure on the lungs, causing compression of the soft tissues (alveoli and small bronchi). The reduced airflow caused by this pressure, combined with the presence of mucus, results in wheezing when the child exhales.
What Triggers Asthma?
Although it cannot be accurately predicted who will develop asthma, there are some children who may be at higher risk. Triggering mechanisms can include pollens, house dust, and animals. Other factors include exposure to cold and psychological stress factors. Physical exertion has also been recognized as a cause of asthma or may aggravate an asthmatic condition. Some experts believe that asthma may be associated with the increased level of pollution in our environment.
How is Asthma Treated?
There is no ‘cure’ for asthma. The only treatment is to control its symptoms. The primary medical approach is drug therapy. For those types of asthma that are triggered by allergies, avoidance of those substances that produce the allergic reaction is also important.
Drugs in the steroid family are a typical treatment for acute asthmatic episodes. Inhalers are often used in early stages of the disease, or for minor attacks. These inhalers, or bronchodilators, are used to help ease the restriction to the airway. Unfortunately, many patients find it necessary to continue using inhalers throughout their lives.
Are There Side Effects?
If you and your physician are considering the use of drugs to manage your child’s asthma, it is important to weigh the potential benefits against the risks. Although the treatment of asthma by medication is common and for many, life sustaining, there may be other health complications associated with this approach.
Frequent side effects of drugs commonly used to treat asthma include sissiness, headache, nausea, diarrhea, indigestion, increased heart rate, nervousness, throat, nasal and eye irritations, insomnia, fluid retention, increased appetite, suppression of the immune system, oral yeast infections, and long term usage has been linked to learning disabilities. Less common side effects include allergic reactions, heart problems, diabetes, increased blood pressure, and stomach pain.
Can Chiropractic Help?
Several clinical trials and studies have noted positive correlation between Chiropractic care and the patients perception of relief from their asthma symptoms. Perhaps more compelling are the personal stories of parents and children who have experienced the benefits firsthand. Many have observed a decrease in the severity of asthma symptoms after implementing a schedule or regular Chiropractic visits.
Chiropractic care represents a safe, drug-free approach that could reduce or eliminate the need for medication. Consider talking to a qualified Doctor of Chiropractic to learn more about how regular Chiropractic care may benefit your child!