Adolescent asthma: A developmental approach

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Article, Peer-reviewed

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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The purpose of this review is to update providers on how best to address asthma in adolescents. RECENT FINDINGS: Asthma is a common chronic disease, with increased prevalence in minority populations, especially those living in poverty. Published treatment guidelines form the basis of modern asthma treatment, based on disease severity, frequency of symptoms, and lung function measured by spirometry. Written asthma action plans are recommended for patients with persistent asthma. Treating teens with asthma can be challenging, as they may deny disease, underreport symptoms, abandon medication regimens, and engage in risk-taking behaviors. Psychiatric comorbidities such as depression, anxiety, and even posttraumatic stress disorder can have profound effects on the adolescent with asthma, making the treatment much more challenging. SUMMARY: Pediatricians should utilize a developmental approach, incorporating guideline-based therapies when developing treatment plans for teens with asthma. Resources such as school-based health centers, community health workers, mental health professionals, and possibly asthma specialists are all valuable aids to the physician in the medical home in providing care coordination for their teens with asthma.

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