Table 3. Tips for Diagnosing Asthma in Preschool Children for Family Physicians
Taking a careful patient and parental history is critical in the diagnostic process.
When assessing for asthma, a child's physical symptoms and history fall into one of the following categories: (1) not asthma; (2) possibly asthma; or (3) definitely asthma.
You don't have to make a diagnosis in one visit.
Ask about symptoms and use of preventive therapies at every visit. Relevant information can be obtained at every visit.
Younger children with viral-induced asthma respond well to leukotriene receptor antagonist therapy.
Follow-up and control assessment is as important as blood pressure measurement.
Diagnosing the type of asthma affects management (intermittent/viral or persistent/seasonal).
Of children with persistent asthma, 50% have symptoms (i.e., are uncontrolled).
Of children who have respiratory syncytial virus, 50% <2 years old will develop asthma.
The mainstay of prevention for children is low-dose inhaled steroids, but the vast majority of children never need a combination of inhaled glucocorticosteroids and long-acting bronchodilators.