Feature Article

Asthma in adolescents: when to worry, how to navigate the challenges

Feature Article

Asthma in adolescents: when to worry, how to navigate the challenges

Geshani Jayasuriya, Susan J Towns

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Abstract

The management of adolescents with asthma is challenging and recognition of their developmental context and psychosocial factors plays an important role in appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

Key Points

  • Clarity of diagnosis is important to inform appropriate management of adolescents with asthma.
  • Exercise-related symptoms are common in the adolescent age group and may be caused by a variety of underlying factors not related to asthma.
  • See the young person alone for at least part of the consultation, and provide reassurance regarding privacy and confidentiality.
  • Provide and discuss an asthma action plan with every change of treatment.
  • Red flags for high-risk asthma include poor asthma control, adherence issues, under recognition of illness, psychosocial stressors, risk-taking behaviour and communication barriers.