Teens Are Often Left Undiagnosed and Untreated

Published Online: Saturday, November 1, 2003

    Many adolescents who experience asthma symptoms, including wheezing and coughing, go undiagnosed and often go untreated for the respiratory disease. These findings, from a new study, were published recently in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. If left untreated, asthma can have significant consequences, including sleep disruption, missed school days, and limited activity levels.

    In the study, 123,000 North Carolina children aged 12 to 14 watched a video showing children experiencing asthma symptoms. Afterwards, the participants were asked whether they had ever experienced any of the symptoms the children in the film demonstrated. The researchers learned the following about the participants and asthma-like symptoms:

  • 17% had experienced the symptoms but had never been diagnosed

  • 20% of those left undiagnosed had missed a half day of school monthly due to wheezing

  • 7% had been taken to the emergency room for difficulty breathing

  • 25% of students had limited their activities once a month because of wheezing

  • ~33% had experienced sleep disturbances because of wheezing during the past month



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