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Scientific/Medical Question 15
Name two medical conditions which are more prevalent in paediatrics compared to adults and explain why this is the case
Asthma - asthma is more prevalent in children than adults, and more prevalent in boys than girls. Those with asthma often also suffer from eczema and hay fever - a genetic tendency towards allergic diseases that is called atopy. Exactly why asthma is more common in the young is still up for debate, but theories centre around either poor air quality or the hygiene hypothesis. Genetics and increased eagerness on the behalf of doctors to diagnose asthma are also given as possible reasons. Poor air quality could be either due to tobacco smoking, or increased pollution from cars and industry. The hygiene hypothesis states that those who are more exposed to a range of infections, and a range of differential and beneficial microbes, are less likely to suffer asthma and allergies.
Croup - croup occurs in around 7% of children annually during their first five years. It’s more common in atopic children, and is almost always due to a viral infection. The infection in turn leads to inflammation, and the (partial) blocking of the trachea. It presents with a barking cough and wheezing. Croup is a paediatric disease - and presents less as children grow older. This is because as the trachea grows larger inflammation is less likely to block it and cause breathing problems.