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PATHOPHYSIOLOGICAL MECHANISMS OF ASTHMA 8symptoms as children have shown; however, unlike children, where the disease can go into remission, asthma in adults can remain potentially dangerous, and it can progress into a disablingillness. Impact of Age on Diagnosis and Treatment of AsthmaThe inflammation of the airways is a critical feature that is present in the diagnosis, management, and prevention of asthma (Zahran et al., 2018). Asthma has symptoms that are closely related to other respiratory illnesses, making asthma to be easily misdiagnosed. It is essential that health care providers monitor younger children closely for signs and symptoms of the disease to ensure prompt treatment and management. Young children can take medications that are prescribed for older patients in lower doses; however, inhalers are preferred because theyare easy for children to administer and they are fast acting. Medications are administered to children using nebulizers with face masks or inhalers with spacers (Maselli & Peters, 2018). Therefore, formulations of medications must take into consideration the mode of administration in children. Common medications include albuterol, a short-acting beta-adrenergic agonist bronchodilator for opening airways and steroids for long-term elimination of symptoms. Both children and adults who are experiencing acute symptoms of asthma should be started on a short-acting beta-adrenergic agonist bronchodilator (Maselli & Peters, 2018). In contrast, patients that suffer from chronic asthma exacerbations can be treated with a variety of medications, including inhaled long-acting beta2 agonists, leukotriene receptor antagonists, leukotriene inhibitors, and inhaled corticosteroids (Falk et al., 2016).Diagnosing young children can be difficult because when they are experiencing the initialproblematic symptoms, many patients are unable to communicate. Diagnosing asthma in children depends on factors such as family history of the disease or allergies, overall behavior,
PATHOPHYSIOLOGICAL MECHANISMS OF ASTHMA 9breathing patterns and changes, responses to foods, and possible observed triggers. Also, observing the children’s response to treatment may also be used to diagnose them with asthma. To officially diagnose asthma, a doctor may complete an in-depth history of the patient and conduct a thorough physical exam (Bush & Fleming, 2015). Another way doctors can diagnose asthma is by having the patient perform a peak flow meter with a variable airflow and documenting it by using the best of three attempts (Bush & Fleming, 2015). In older children andadults, pulmonary function tests are routinely done to detect asthma (Woods et al., 2016). However, diagnosing asthma in adults presents challenges because the disease symptoms may bemasked by the symptoms of other conditions that are present. In older patients, asthma is usually characterized by a productive cough. Symptoms such as wheezing, dyspnea, cough, tightness in the chest or intolerance to exercise that are common in diagnosing children are also used to diagnose asthma in adults (Bush & Fleming, 2015).