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Pediatric Wheezing: If Not Asthma, Then What is It?
Date:5/30/2008

Experts Examine Eight Alternatives to Exercise-Induced Asthma

INDIANAPOLIS, May 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- When a child experiences coughing, wheezing and chest pains while engaged in physical activity, the default conclusion is that the child must be suffering from exercise-induced asthma (EIA). However, there are several other explanations for wheezing in pediatric patients often overlooked and therefore, left untreated. A featured science session at the 55th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) addressed the issue of pediatric wheezing and the possible diagnoses beyond EIA.

Lucien R. Ouellette, M.D., session chair, explained that there is plenty of confusing information about EIA, how to approach it and how to treat it. Ouellette and co-presenter Michael Pleacher, M.D., outlined alternative diagnoses to explain pediatric wheezing that may present while engaged in physical activity, the appropriate tests and proper treatments.

"Unfortunately, it's all too common for athletes to be diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma, only to miss the real source of the wheezing," said Dr. Ouellette. "These patients are frequently treated with an inhaler only to continue experiencing the symptoms. The patient then quits using the medicine since it's ineffective, and the true diagnosis is left undetected."

Asthma is certainly a problem for children and receives a considerable amount of attention because of environmental causes such as second-hand smoke and air pollution. According to the American Lung Association, asthma is the most common chronic disorder in children, currently affecting an estimated 6.8 million children under 18 years old, of which 4.1 million suffered from an asthma attack or episode in 2006 according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Because of the increasing prevalence of asthma, it's easy to explain why EIA is a common diagnosis for children who wh
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SOURCE American College of Sports Medicine
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