Asthma is one of the most common chronic medical conditions involving children. Within the United States there are approximately 20 million people who suffer from the symptoms of asthma and it is estimated that 9 million of these sufferers are children.
It is estimated that about one third of all pediatric hospital emergency visits are due to complications stemming from bronchial asthma in children. Children's airways are smaller than those of adults so asthma can be very serious.
Add to the asthma the fact that children are more prone to swollen tonsils which can help to further block their airway and it is easy to see how these two elements can lead to a very dangerous situation for the child. Some parents are now turning to tonsillectomy to give their child relief from the extreme asthmatic symptoms. For some it is working.
Severe Asthma can be a Life Threatening Illness
Asthma is an inflammatory disease that is usually triggered by airborne stimuli such as mold, pollen, dander, cigarette smoke infection and other air pollutants but it can also be aggravated by the flu or cold virus, cold air or even the effects of exercise.
Reactive airway disease (asthma as it is more commonly known) is an inflammatory based illness. During an asthmatic attack individuals will suffer difficulties breathing when the bronchial muscle tissue becomes affected. An increase in fluid within the airway caused by the immune system reaction further complicates this difficulty.
With the serious health implications involved with each asthma attack, as well as the overall effect that asthma has on individuals and their families in general, it is little wonder that new treatments for this devastating illness are being constantly investigated. One of these areas of research is the removal of tonsils (tonsillectomy) to improve the breathing of asthma sufferers.
Tonsils can cause increased breathing difficulties in younger individuals due the tonsils relative size in relation to the size of the throat. Children have smaller airways than adults. When the tonsils become inflamed they enlarge increasing breathing difficulties even further. For asthma sufferers who experience periods of extremely reduced air flow to the lungs the tonsils can be an extreme irritant to their current condition.
Tonsillectomy Used to be a Common Childhood Surgery
Years ago it was almost a routine practice to remove the tonsils in children. The tonsils were thought to be at the root cause of many of the colds and flu suffered by children and thought to be of little benefit. It was believed that this organ's purpose in the body was very minimal.
So if you are wondering if tonsils do have a purpose well rest assured that they are in us for a reason. Research has since proven that tonsils do provide a very important purpose within the body particularly in children. Tonsils are located in the upper breathing passageway where they are able to catch and examine incoming germs.
Tonsils act as a part of the immune system filtering out good and bad germs as they enter into the airways and are generally more active in childhood thus resulting in a higher incidence of enlarged or swollen tonsils. This can result in a reduced airway and increased snoring or asthma symptoms in children.
Short Term Studies Suggest This Procedure can Help
In a recent study a questionnaire was given to the caregivers of child asthma sufferers who had undergone surgical removal of the tonsils and adenoids. The study was prepared in order to document pre and post operative asthmatic symptoms of child asthma sufferers who had undergone adenotonsillectomy procedures.
The studies findings indicate that there is an improvement in symptoms after the tonsils are removed. The questions were answered within a six month to five year period after the surgery was performed. The ages of the allergy sufferers ranged from two years to twelve years.
The findings in medication use indicated that the use of inhaled steroids decreased from 68% to 45%. Use of long acting beta2-agonists' decreased from 10% to 0%. Use of leukotriene moderators reduced from 31% to 28% and the use of Albuterol decreased from 89% to 28%. Systemic steroid use decreased from 50% to 18%.
The average number of missed school days decreased from 7.76 to 3.28 and the average number of missed work days of caregivers decreased from 7.35 to 1.8. There was a decrease in the overall severity of the effects of asthma within the subjects.
Is a tonsillectomy a procedure that you should consider for your child to help reduce their asthmatic symptoms? That is a choice for you, your doctor, and your child to discuss.
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