Background: Children with poorly controlled asthma are at high risk of airway remodeling, sleep disruption, school absenteeism, and limited participation in activities. Objective: To determine asthma prevalence and characterize disease severity and burden in school-aged children. Method: A case-finding study was conducted via a multiple-choice questionnaire and asthma algorithm. Items used for analysis include physician diagnosis of asthma, symptom severity, and health care utilization. The χ2 test was used to determine the significance of differences among cases. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the association of patient factors and asthma indicators. Results: Of the 5,417 children surveyed, 1,341 (25%) were classified as being at risk of asthma. Of these asthma cases, 55% were positive by diagnosis and algorithm (active), 10% were positive per algorithm alone (suspected), and 35% were positive per diagnosis alone (nonactive). Only 14% of all asthma cases reported experiencing no respiratory symptoms (<1% active, 2% suspected, and 40% nonactive) compared with 75% of noncases. Also, 75% of noncases reported never missing school compared with 19%, 33%, and 54% of active, suspected, and nonactive asthma cases. African American race, Medicaid enrollment, and male sex were independent predictors of asthma risk. Similarly, African American race, Medicaid enrollment, age, and persistent asthma were independent predictors of emergency department use among asthma cases. Discussion: Prevalence of active symptoms suggestive of poor asthma control was extremely high among urban, minority children enrolled in Arkansas' largest public school district. Poor asthma control greatly affects quality of life, including school attendance and performance. Interventions should raise expectations and emphasize the importance of achieving asthma control.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine