Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways that can cause wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing. The inflammatory responses associated with asthma can cause airway narrowing and excessive secretions. Over time, these responses result in injury of epithelial cells in the respiratory system, airway remodeling, and pulmonary dysfunctions. Genetic as well as environmental factors play an important role in the development of asthma.
Asthma, one of the most common chronic diseases in the pediatric population, affects approximately 7.1 million children (9.3% prevalence) from birth to 18 years of age. The prevalence of asthma in both adults and children has been increasing since the 1980s, becoming a major public health concern. Asthma is a chronic condition with periodic exacerbations, causing children to miss an estimated 14 million school days per year. Undiagnosed and poorly controlled asthma can lead to serious outcomes, even death. In 2009, asthma attacks led to 774,000 emergency room visits by children under 15 years of age.3 In the same year, about
160 children in this age group died from asthma. The total direct cost (health care related) and indirect cost (such as loss of productivity) of asthma is estimated to be as high as 56 billion dollars annually.
Nutrition Issues in Children with Asthma