Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Symptoms of Pediatric Allergic Asthma
In part 1 of this 2-part episode, Irum Noor, DO, speaks about allergic asthma in children, including the risk factors and symptoms that parents/guardians should be aware of and monitor for.
Listen to part 2 of this episode here.
Irum Noor, DO, is an allergist and immunologist with ENT and Allergy Associates (Manhasset, NY).
Jessica Bard: Hello everyone, and welcome to another installment of Podcast 360, your go-to resource for medical news and clinical updates. I'm your moderator, Jessica Bard with Consultant360 Specialty Network. According to the World Health Organization, asthma is the most common chronic disease among children. Dr. Irum Noor is here to speak with us today about the prevalence, risk factors, and symptoms of allergic asthma. Thank you for joining us today, Dr. Noor. Please introduce yourself for the audience with your title, position, and affiliation.
Dr Irum Noor: Of course. Thank you so much for having me today and giving me the opportunity. My name is Dr. Irum Noor. I am an allergist/immunologist. I work with ENT and allergy associates. I see both pediatric patients and adult patients, but my base training is in pediatrics, and so I am very comfortable working with children. I'm excited to talk today.
Jessica Bard: Well, thank you again for joining us. We're talking about allergic asthma today. What is the prevalence of allergic asthma in the United States?
Dr Irum Noor: So allergic asthma in the United States accounts for about more than 200,000 cases per year. When we look at asthma in general, about 60% of those cases are allergic asthma. Now in terms of looking at allergic asthma in children versus adults, we see that the incidence of allergic asthma is highest in the youngest age group, which would be from about 0 to 9 years, as opposed to those patients that are older, such as the age group of 50 to 59 years. Specifically, we see the incidence is about 1.8 per thousand in the younger group, as opposed to 0.6 per thousand in the older group. So that's about 3 times more, which I think is very significant and very important for us to realize, how do we go about recognizing allergic asthma in the pediatric population?
Jessica Bard: What are the risk factors of allergic asthma in children? And more specifically, how does socioeconomic status impact the risk of allergic asthma in children?
Dr Irum Noor: So the risk factors for allergic asthma will include allergic sensitization, environmental tobacco smoke, exposure to animals, breastfeeding, decreased lung function in infancy, family size plays a role, family structure, antibiotics, infections. Also, sex and gender also play a role and specifically socioeconomic status also really impacts the risk of allergic asthma. Unfortunately, when we have a lower socioeconomic status, there's a greater risk of being sensitized to certain indoor allergens that may not exist in a higher socioeconomic status. And that can just be, for example, we have rat, mouse, cockroach, dust mite, those are all very prevalent allergens. Can be unfortunately more present in the lower socioeconomic status. So those are all risk factors that we have to take into consideration.
Jessica Bard: And let's talk about symptoms. What are the symptoms of allergic asthma that parents or guardians should look for in children?
Dr Irum Noor: So in terms of allergic asthma, first I just want to review very quickly what we look out for in asthma itself. So parents, we should be looking out for chest tightness, coughing, especially if there's coughing in the middle of the night. That's also big red flag for maybe thinking about asthma. If there's any shortness of breath, rapid breathing, gasping for air, if children are feeling tired, there's dark circles under the eyes, which we refer to as allergic shiners, being more irritable, wheezing, which is that whistling sound that we hear when you breathe out, trouble eating.
Dr Irum Noor: In terms of allergic asthma, so when patients come to the office, there's indoor allergens and then there's outdoor allergens. We always talk about how there has to be 2 seasons that a child is exposed to before we start to think about being sensitized to outdoor allergens. And so really it's important to think, okay, before age two, there could be a potential of allergic asthma, if the patient's also starting to get wheezing when they're around a dog, when they're around a cat. When they're older than 2, if they're playing outdoors and they're having wheezing episode or feeling chest tightness when they're just outdoor in the backyard. Maybe that's the time that we should think about trees and weeds and grasses.
And so being aware of the environment is also very important because the same symptoms can be presenting that are in asthma in general. But when we talk about allergic asthma, the environment starts to play a major role in recognizing that diagnosis.
Jessica Bard: Well, thank you again for your time today, Dr. Noor.
Dr Irum Noor: Thank you.