Dean BB, Calimlim BC, Sacco P, Aquilar D, Maykut R, Tinkelman D. Uncontrolled asthma among children: impairment in social functioning and sleep. J Asthma. 2010 Jun;47(5):539-44.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate asthma symptom frequency, severity, and control among children with asthma and to evaluate the impact on social functioning and sleep impairment. 

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Using a cross-sectional design, adult caregivers of children aged 6–12 years with moderate to severe asthma (severity based on National Asthma Education and Prevention Program guidelines) were surveyed about the child's symptoms, treatment, activity limitation, and sleep impairment. Asthma was categorized as uncontrolled if the caregiver reported any of the following of the child: experienced >2 days/week with symptoms, were awakened at night by symptoms during the preceding 4 weeks, had activity limited by a health problem, or used short-acting beta-agonist for rescue >5 times/week. Asthma not meeting any of these criteria was categorized as controlled. Social functioning and sleep impairment were assessed using questions adapted from the SleepLearnPlay instrument. Children with uncontrolled and controlled asthma were compared using t tests for continuous variables and Fisher's exact test for categorical variables. Multiple comparison adjustment using the Bonferroni procedure was made for social functioning and sleep impairment measures. 

RESULTS:  A total of 473 caregivers completed the survey; 360 were caregivers of children with uncontrolled asthma and 113 of children with controlled asthma. Compared with controlled asthma, a greater proportion of children with uncontrolled asthma showed avoidance across all nine social activities assessed. Children with uncontrolled asthma were significantly more likely to wake up at night with symptoms (p <.0001) and use a rescue inhaler at night (p <.0001), experience difficulty waking up in the morning (p = .0001) and getting out of bed (p = .0039), and be overly tired all day (p <.0001). 

CONCLUSIONS: Uncontrolled asthma impacted functioning and sleep of children to a significantly greater degree than well-controlled asthma. Proper treatment and disease management to improve symptom control can reduce this impact on the lives of children.

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