Take your child's word for it on asthma, study finds

August 2, 2013, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

Children's perceptions of living with asthma may differ significantly from their caregivers' perceptions, which means both should be interviewed when they visit the doctor's office, a new study from UT Kids San Antonio and the Center for Airway Inflammation Research (cAIR) shows.

The study analyzed the agreement between 79 children and their on health-related quality-of-life questionnaires. The children ranged in age from 5 to 17. Fifty-three were classified as having and 26 had refractory, or treatment-resistant, .

Include children

"The take-home message is that children need to be included in the with , and physicians need to elicit the child's perspective on their illness, health status, and what is being done to treat their illness," said senior author Pamela Wood, M.D., Distinguished Teaching Professor of pediatrics in the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

UT Kids is the clinical practice of the Department of Pediatrics. cAIR is a newly established research center at the Health Science Center's South Texas Research Facility that focuses on controlling and preventing acute and chronic airway diseases. The director is Joel Baseman, Ph.D.

Encouragement needed

Study lead author Margaret Burks, M.D., a 2013 graduate of the School of Medicine who is now an intern at Vanderbilt University, said children should be empowered to take control of their asthma. "Encouraging an environment where children can talk freely with their caregiver is important, and can start with allowing the child to participate in the office visit," Dr. Burks said. "It is important that children feel that their response to their disease is valued, not only by their physician but by their caregiver, as well."

Children were asked to rate their own limitations on activity, while caregivers were asked to rate the effect that the children's limitations had on family activities. "Overall, viewed themselves as less impaired, in comparison to how caregivers viewed the limitations that the asthma placed on the family," Dr. Wood said.

Overcome barriers

Parents may not want to acknowledge a lack of communication when they go to a doctor's office. "I think there is often a concern in the minds of caregivers about how they appear to the physician," Dr. Burks said. "Caregivers may not want to seem out of touch with their child's day-to-day health, and, in such fear, they may dominate the conversation at the office visit. Our study demonstrates that it is helpful to gain insight from both the caregiver and the child."

Describing life with asthma to a health care provider can be an inexact science, to be sure. "There is no gold standard," Dr. Wood said. "We can't use a thermometer to measure quality of life."

The study is in Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Explore further: The allergist is listening: Five things they need to hear, from your child

Related Stories

The allergist is listening: Five things they need to hear, from your child

July 10, 2013
The allergist's office might not be a child's favorite place to visit, but it is a place where they should be able to say how their asthma makes them feel. While children might rely on parents to tell their doctor about how ...

One in five kids may 'outgrow' asthma

July 30, 2013
(HealthDay)— As many as one in five youngsters with asthma may grow out of the respiratory condition as they age, new research indicates.

Hispanic and black kids less likely to use medication to control asthma

June 28, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Black and Hispanic children with asthma are less likely than White children to use long-term asthma control medications, finds a new study in Health Services Research.

Missed sleep may contribute to asthma morbidity

July 17, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Missed sleep may contribute to asthma morbidity in urban children, according to a study published in the July issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Asthma symptoms impair sleep quality and school performance in children

May 21, 2013
The negative effects of poorly controlled asthma symptoms on sleep quality and academic performance in urban schoolchildren has been confirmed in a new study.

Caregivers open to stopping cancer screening as dementia progresses

July 19, 2013
Research from the Regenstrief Institute and the Indiana University Center for Aging Research has found that many family caregivers of older adults with dementia are willing to consider stopping cancer screening of the elderly ...

Recommended for you

Immunosuppressive cells in newborns play important role in controlling inflammation in early life

January 15, 2018
New research led by The Wistar Institute, in collaboration with Sun Yat-sen University in China, has characterized the transitory presence of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in mouse and human newborns, revealing ...

Memory loss from West Nile virus may be preventable

January 15, 2018
More than 10,000 people in the United States are living with memory loss and other persistent neurological problems that occur after West Nile virus infects the brain.

Mould discovery in lungs paves way for helping hard to treat asthma

January 15, 2018
A team at The University of Manchester have found that in a minority of patients they studied, a standard treatment for asthma—oral steroids—was associated with increased levels of the treatable mould Aspergillus in the ...

Fast food makes the immune system more aggressive in the long term

January 12, 2018
The immune system reacts similarly to a high fat and high calorie diet as to a bacterial infection. This is shown by a recent study led by the University of Bonn. Particularly disturbing: Unhealthy food seems to make the ...

Past exposures shape immune response in pediatric acute respiratory infections

January 12, 2018
Acute respiratory tract infections (ARTI) are the leading global cause of death in early childhood, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Lower respiratory tract infections, including bronchiolitis ...

Scientists identify immune cells that keep gut fungi under control

January 11, 2018
Immune cells that process food and bacterial antigens in the intestines control the intestinal population of fungi, according to a new study from Weill Cornell Medicine scientists. Defects in the fungus-fighting abilities ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.