Untreated Comorbidities Can Harm Asthmatic Children

Wednesday May 2nd - 11:30am

New research indicates that asthmatic children with comorbidities will not fully benefit from treatment of asthma until the coexisting conditions are managed. The authors of the study believe the findings highlight the need to provide kids with asthma the right treatments that address both physical and mental and developmental health.

Traditionally, research on childhood asthma has focused on ways to manage it, and failed to address concurrent conditions, such as depression or ADHD. Left untreated, these comorbidities can adversely affect how a child copes.

"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 lead study author, Dr. James Blackman, also a developmental pediatrician at the Kluge Children's Rehabilitation Center at the Children's Hospital of the University of Virginia.

"If we can manage these comorbidities, we can better help children with asthma and their families to manage the disease in the healthiest way possible," he added, in an April issue of The Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

Data for the research was compiled from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2003 National Survey of Children's Health, which polled parents about the severity of their children's asthma and any behavior problems, and which gathered information on more than 100,000 children from ages 0 to 17.

Among the findings, the more severe the child's asthma was, the higher the incidence of problems were, such as anxiety, behavioral problems and learning disabilities. These children also tended to experience long-term problems, require counseling or treatment, and miss more days of school, putting them at risk of social, academic and emotional hardships.

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