Did you know that National Asthma week commences 1st September? When was the last time you really spent a little time revisiting Asthma and the current treatment and management recommendations? Here are some interesting facts followed by some links to great resources.
A clinical definition of asthma in adults
“Asthma is defined clinically as the combination of variable respiratory symptoms (e.g. wheeze, shortness of breath, cough and chest tightness) and excessive variation in lung function.
There is no single reliable test (‘gold standard’) and there are no standardised diagnostic criteria for asthma.The diagnosis of asthma is based on:
- physical examination
- considering other diagnoses
- documenting variable airflow limitation.
In some patients, observing a response to treatment may help confirm the diagnosis, but lack of response to bronchodilators or to inhaled corticosteroids does not rule out asthma”
A clinical definition of asthma in children
“Asthma is defined clinically as the combination of variable respiratory symptoms (e.g.wheeze, shortness of breath, cough and chest tightness) and excessive variation in lung function, i.e. variation in expiratory airflow that is greater than that seen in healthy children (‘variable airflow limitation).
Steps in the diagnosis of asthma in children
- episodic respiratory symptoms such as wheezing and cough are very common in children, particularly in children under 3 years
- objective lung function testing by spirometry is usually not feasible in this age group
- a high proportion of children who respond to bronchodilator treatment do not go on to have asthma in later childhood (e.g. by primary school age). ” Reference: http://www.asthmahandbook.org.au
You can access a range of practical resources for Health Professionals including Video’s and downloads from Asthma Australia>> The Nurses for Nurses Network has a good range of continuing professional development activities including webinars and Quizzes on Asthma to keep you up to-date.