Korean J Pediatr.  2011 Jan;54(1):1-5. 10.3345/kjp.2011.54.1.1.

Asthma in childhood: a complex, heterogeneous disease

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Catholic University of Daegu, Daegu, Korea. hlchung@cu.ac.kr

Abstract

Asthma in childhood is a heterogeneous disease with different phenotypes and variable clinical manifestations, which depend on the age, gender, genetic background, and environmental influences of the patients. Several longitudinal studies have been conducted to classify the phenotypes of childhood asthma, on the basis of the symptoms, triggers of wheezing illness, or pathophysiological features of the disease. These studies have provided us with important information about the different wheezing phenotypes in young children and about potential mechanisms and risk factors for the development of chronic asthma. The goal of these studies was to provide a better insight into the causes and natural course of childhood asthma. It is well-known that complicated interactions between genes and environmental factors contribute to the development of asthma. Because childhood is a period of rapid growth in both the lungs and the immune system, developmental factors should be considered in the pathogenesis of childhood asthma. The pulmonary system continues to grow and develop until linear growth is completed. Longitudinal studies have reported significant age-related immune development during postnatal early life. These observations suggest that the phenotypes of childhood asthma vary among children and also in an individual child over time. Improved classification of heterogeneous conditions of the disease will help determine novel strategies for primary and secondary prevention and for the development of individualized treatment for childhood asthma.

Keyword

Asthma; Phenotype; Child

MeSH Terms

Asthma
Child
Humans
Immune System
Lung
Phenotype
Respiratory Sounds
Risk Factors
Secondary Prevention
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