Asthma in kids leads to missed sleep, school days

Research finds missed sleep and morbidity more frequently occur in urban youth.

July 21, 2012 06:44
2 minute read.

Asthma breathing sick inhaler 390. (photo credit: Thinkstock)

Straight A’s might be hard to come by for children with asthma this upcoming school year. Asthma accounts for 10.5 million missed school days annually. And according to a new study published in the July issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology the scientific publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), asthma is also a leading contributor to missed sleep and illness in urban children.

The research showed that lost sleep due to asthma was significantly related to frequent school absences, sports limitation and increased emergency room visits, especially in Latino children.

"Children with asthma from urban backgrounds are at increased risk of disrupted sleep, which can greatly impact their daytime functioning,” said Lauren Daniel Ph.D, lead study author. “It is important for parents and healthcare providers to routinely monitor sleep in children with asthma to minimize sleep disruptions and ensure proper asthma control."

According to the research, children in urban living environments are at increased risk for multiple stressors, such as poverty and neighborhood disadvantage, that can negatively affect asthma control.

Parents of 147 children aged six to thirteen years took part in this study, which was conducted at the Bradley Hasbro Research Center of Brown Medical School. Parents reported their quality of life was considerably decreased when their child’s asthma was not well controlled. Children with high anxiety and general worries were also thought to have trouble returning to sleep after wakening from asthma symptoms, affecting the child’s daily activities.

“Proper asthma care and management can minimize the risk of nighttime symptoms which disrupt sleep,” said Stanley Fineman, MD, President of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. “Board-certified allergists are the best-trained professionals to treat asthma. Allergists will help children and their parents develop a treatment plan that will reduce school absences and hospital visits and increase productivity and overall quality of life.”

According to the ACAAI, improved outcomes with care from an allergist include:
• 54 percent to 76 percent reduction in emergency room visits
• 60 percent to 89 percent reduction in hospitalizations
• 77 percent reduction in lost time from school

If children are showing signs of asthma, parents can take the Asthma Relief Self-Test and find an allergist by visiting

This article was first published at

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