Does my daughter have asthma?

Staying Healthy

By Edel Rooney


In association with Hidden Hearing

My 13-year old daughter is having increasing difficulty catching her breath. I’ve noticed she is wheezing a lot more and has problems exercising. Could she have developed asthma? She had no difficulties until recently.

Asthma is an extremely prevalent condition in Ireland. We are the fourth worst country affected after Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. It is estimated that 470,000 individuals in Ireland have the condition which affects the tubes that carry air to and from the lungs.

Asthma sufferers find it difficult to breathe because these airways become sensitive to factors such as air or dust. The airway muscles then tighten, making the passages narrower and restricting breathing.

Asthma is the most common chronic disease affecting children in Ireland. Recent studies indicate that the prevalence of asthma in children aged 13-14 increased by 40 per cent between 1995 and 2003. As child who suffers with asthma typically misses ten days school each year. And more than 2500 children under the age of 14 are admitted to hospital each year with asthma attacks.

You can begin to suffer from asthma at any time. It is not clear what exactly causes asthma to develop but the increase in cases is attributed to societal changes such as more sterile home environments, changing diets and modern lifestyles.

Symptoms include:

·      Difficulty in breathing

·      A tight feeling in the chest

·      A wheezing or whistling noise in the chest

·      Insistent coughing or hoarseness, particularly at night

Of course, some of these symptoms can be caused by other factors such as allergies. To diagnose your daughter’s condition, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

The doctor will carry out a number of straightforward checks to see if your daughter is asthmatic.

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