We have to take our child to a pulmonary specialist as soon as possible if he or she suffers from permanent coughing, stridor or we recognize labored breathing. Very often in puberty the first symptom of asthma (see footnote no.1.) is that during gym class, in the course of running, the child gets tired early, coughs and feels shortness of breath. These are typical symptoms of an asthma which need a specialist’s check-up. Svábhegyi Children’s Clinic is a special pediatric center of pulmonolgy and allergology in Hungary with long traditions and expertise. Call us without hesitation, we are at your service!
Asthma, an unpleasant but manageable disease
In case of asthma there is a chronic inflammation on the mucous membrane of the bronchial tree. On the thickened mucous membrane inflamed cells are piled up, smooth muscles of bronchi are contracted, which affect the bronchioli and bronchus as well. The child can hardly or cannot cough up the clammy phlegm originating from the inflammation. Inflamed mucous membrane, thick phlegm and the convulsive bronchi are together responsible for the appearance of asthmatic symptoms, which result in stridor, labored breathing, permanent, racking cough and gasping. Nowadays, by means of medicines developed for the treatment of asthma, these symptoms may be eased or completely relieved so it is important that when we recognize such symptoms a specialist of pulmonology has to see the child. Disposal of different diagnostic facilities and the pulmonology specialist’s expertise in care could assure the proper diagnosis and treatment of childhood asthma. These facilities also render the exact diagnosis possible when children have asthmatic symptoms but in fact there are other chronic respiratory disorders in the background (ex. respiratory development disorders, chronic bronchitis, bronchodilatation).
Asthma: a hereditary or acquired disease?
Both options are possible! If the child’s ascendants suffered or suffer from asthma, he or she is more susceptive to this disease. In infancy or in early childhood typical asthmatic symptoms are often caused by viral infections. In many cases these typical symptoms emerge as a consequence of the first viral infection got in the nursery or kindergarten communities and later they may recur or become regular.
In small children allergens (like pollen) may also generate coughing, stridor and gasping. Symptoms may also be provoked by physical strain and stress. In rare cases food allergy (having certain food like egg or hazelnut) is the trigger of the typical asthmatic symptoms.
In puberty hormonal changes may also play a role in the course of the symptoms’ appearance. However in certain cases just the changes of the sexual hormone level may have the symptoms disappear for good.
The most important steps when we guess that asthma is behind the symptoms are: to detect what triggers asthmatic symptoms, treat the disease (see footnote no. 2.) and manage the asthma by frequent follow-up examinations (see footnote no. 1/a). Our pediatric pulmonology specialists also take much care of frequent, unpleasant diseases (often accompanied by a feverish condition, see link) like recurring inflammatory diseases of the upper airways, bronchitis, croup or pneumonia. If necessary they work in teams together with their colleagues of certain associated medicine – allergology, otorhinolaryngology, gastroenterology or sometimes pediatric psychology – so there is an opportunity to hold a conference of doctors when it is required.
We provide a 24-hour service, giving you safety and ease!
What factors provoke asthma? – The way to the diagnosis
In case of suspicion of asthma disease a complex check-up is taking place, including the survey of medical history (anamnesis), physical examination, allergy tests, skin prick test and pulmonary function examination in case of older children. Under the age of three years we consider the allergy test, based on the detection of specific antibodies’ level (IgE) from blood test, more informative.
Measuring of the pulmonary function during the course of the diagnosis setup and follow-up examinations (see footnote no.1/a) is a basic diagnostic method. By the follow-up of the pulmonary function, the specialist can evaluate the efficiency of the treatment and may modify the therapy (intensify or reduce). Systematic review of symptoms, complaints and evaluation of the pulmonary function examinations make the asthmatic child’s personalized treatment, care and control possible.
Treatment of asthma
Treatment of asthma is a complex procedure. We concentrate both on the elimination of the prevailing symptoms, complaints and the reduction of bronchial inflammation (bronchitis). In acute cases antispasmodic, expansive treatment could be necessary to open swollen airways. By means of the so-called quick-relief agents an asthma attack could be kept under control at once or be eliminated. Long-term therapy of asthma is focusing on the reduction of the chronic inflammation in the background, which is called a continuous maintenance asthma preventive treatment. Medicines used to reduce inflammation are partly oral medications, partly inhaled drugs. In the course of inhaled therapies asthma drugs are delivered to the lung by different inhalers that could be applied at home, too. During the process of therapy set-up, usage of these devices are taught to the parents and to older children by our assistants and in the course of all follow-up examinations the proper application is checked by them again. If necessary they correct mistakes in the use of these devices, since proper application is the cornerstone of the medications’ effective delivery and curative power in the lung.
Two thirds of asthmatic children have allergic reactions too, therefore in such cases their therapy should be complemented by the application of either antihistamine medications or nasal sprays and eye drops which provide local treatment for allergic symptoms of the nose and eyes (see link).
allergologist - immunologist, pediatric pulmonologist