Asthma And Anxiety In Children: The Connection And The Treatment

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Children are suffering from asthma at incredibly high levels and researchers have been working hard to find out why. They believe that stress is playing a huge role in causing this epidemic. Here's what parents need to know about this connection and how to manage it.

The Statistics Are Soaring

There is a quiet epidemic of asthma overtaking much of the nation. In 2009, 10 percent of all children in the nation has asthma, numbers that have since increased. Asthma attacks were common in those with this disease – three out of every five had at least one, but usually more asthma attacks each year. These statistics were higher in African American and Native American children.

Why is asthma increasing in children and particularly among these various populations? There are many theories as to why, but the most commonly accepted among them is the rise of stress in these populations and the effect that it has on their childhood asthma.

Stress Is Definitely Linked To Asthma

Multiple studies have linked asthma not only to stress, but to adverse home living situations. In a study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, it was found that two-thirds of all children in Detroit faced adverse home conditions. It also confirmed that children in these home conditions were twice as likely to have asthma than those who were not. They linked the influence to stress and the difficulties associated with their home life.

Taking a step away from "adverse home conditions" and studying just stress, another bit of research found that "...individuals with asthma have a higher-than-expected rate of comorbid mood and anxiety disorders." They had found that children in households where mood disorders and high stress were common were more likely to develop asthma than children who were not.

How Anxiety And Asthma Can Be Treated

With comorbid disorders like asthma and anxiety caused by stress, it is important to treat both problems at the same time. For example, the child should have inhalers to deal with asthma attacks. They should also use other asthmatic treatment methods, such as strengthening their lungs through exercise. However, managing their stress may be the more difficult problem, as it requires a concentrated approach.

It is necessary to teach the child to handle their stress in a healthy way by identifying what stresses them out, clearing them mind, or even meditating. Many children can benefit from yoga as a way of managing their stress, particularly if it is directed by their parents. Anxiety medications are another answer, though for many children, a good diet and an exercise routine may manage much of their stress. This is even a good asthma treatment, as weight loss can help manage many asthma symptoms. Talking to an asthma specialist, like Cookingham Allergy & Asthma Associates, P.C., could be a great way to find the best treatment solution.