Renown Health offers the only Multidisciplinary Pediatric Asthma Program in Northern Nevada|
RENO, Nev. (Aug. 26, 2008) – Approximately seven to 10 percent of children in northern Nevada are affected by asthma each year. To help these children and their parents breathe easier, Renown Health offers the only multidisciplinary pediatric asthma program in northern Nevada.
Held two times a month, on the second and fourth Thursday, children ages two to 18 and their parents learn about the tools they need to manage and understand their asthma. In order to establish a treatment and maintenance plan, each patient is seen by a registered respiratory therapist and Sonia Budhecha, MD, pediatric pulmonologist.
Children seen for the first time undergo a series of non-invasive tests to determine the child’s lung function. Breathing testing and/or exercise testing is done by certified respiratory therapists who also help determine what the patient’s triggers might be. The information gathered in the first visit helps establish a treatment plan for the control of the patient’s asthma.
According to Robert Richard, RRT and certified asthma educator, about half the asthmatic cases seen in the program are allergy related. One patient, five-year-old, Parker Luthy, suffers from allergies, which directly trigger his asthma. His participation in the program is an example of how treatment can greatly improve patient quality of life.
“At first I didn’t want to believe that Parker was asthmatic,” said Jennifer Luthy, Parker’s mom. “He didn’t have any of the typical wheezing symptoms, but rather a chronic cough. At our first visit we learned coughing is a symptom of his asthma. We were able to establish what his triggers were and how we could manage his asthma through awareness of those triggers. Should he have a flare up we were given medication, which keeps his asthma manageable.”
After his symptoms started up again this summer, due to the smoke from the California wildfires, Parker revisited the program with his mom to find out what additional steps could be taken to maintain his asthma.
“He started soccer this month and is definitely the first one to get tired within the group,” said Jennifer. “Our hope is to find out what changed and get him back on track in doing all the activities he can without experiencing asthmatic symptoms.”
Children who are asthmatic often have a state of inflammation in their lungs as a result of allergies, which reduces their threshold for activities. Finding out what is making the child so allergic and prescribing them with a treatment will greatly reduce symptoms allowing them to live a normal life.
Parker will be going to see an allergy specialist to undergo further allergy testing. In the meantime he received a peak flow meter and medication to manage his symptoms. According to Parker’s mom, his symptoms improved in just a few days.
“Uncontrolled asthma can have long-term damaging effects such as decreased lung function,” said Dr. Budhecha. “While many children can outgrow asthma, we want to help them maintain healthy lung function so they can enjoy activities and go through life un-affected by asthma symptoms.”
Parents who suspect their child may be asthmatic or who simply want to learn more can make an appointment with the Renown Health Pediatric Asthma Program, 982-5073. Renown Health does encourage patients and families to work with their primary care physician prior to scheduling an appointment.