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Other Problems Can Plague Children with Asthma

While a lot is being done in the area of research to address asthma conditions in children, little is being done to address other problems often associated with children and asthma, like depression and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).

Research conducted at the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital aimes to improve awareness of these issues so that education programs can be enhanced to help children better cope with Asthma.

"We can definitively state that families with asthmatic children not only report higher incidences of ADHD, but also of depression, anxiety and learning disabilities," said Dr. James Blackman, developmental pediatrician at the Kluge Children’s Rehabilitation Center at UVa Children’s Hospital and lead study author. "If we can manage these co-morbidities, we can better help children with asthma and their families to manage the disease in the healthiest way possible."

Co-Morbidities
Co-morbidities is a term used to describe the effect of all other diseases or problems an individual patient might have other than the primary disease of interest. Co-morbidities indicates a medical condition in a patient that causes or is otherwise related to another condition in the same patient.

The study uncovered depression, anxiety, behavioural problems, and learning disabilities as co-morbidities common among children with asthma. The more severe the child’s asthma was, the higher the incidence of these types of problems. More than 10 percent of asthmatic children experienced problems that lasted longer than a year and required counseling or treatment. What’s more, these children often missed ten or more days of school, leading parents and caregivers to worry about their children’s healthy academic and emotional development.

"What also is important about this research is that it shows how asthma can lead to psychosocial disadvantages for children in our society," adds Blackman. Blackman believes that children with asthma need to receive tailored and precise treatments addressing their physical and mental and developmental health. This could lead to fewer missed days in school and fewer calls home to parents for behavioural and academic problems.

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