Common chronic conditions in pediatric primary care
Keywords:Children, Chronic, Asthma, Diabetes, Developmental disorders, Primary care
Chronic health conditions comprise illnesses as well as physical disabilities that last longer than 12 months and limit the patient’s usual activity. The prevalence of chronic illnesses and disabilities in children and adolescents has more than doubled in the last 60 to 70 years. Common chronic conditions encountered among children across the globe include bronchial asthma, cystic fibrosis, diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, and developmental disabilities like cerebral palsy, in addition to congenital and heredofamilial conditions including certain hemolytic anemias and genitourinary disorders endemic to Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. Factors implicated in the shift in child health epidemiology from acute to chronic illnesses include better availability of diagnostic tools, improved specialized care access for pediatric patients suffering from complex congenital disorders, neoplasms, and premature births, and especially in case of disadvantaged populations, environmental factors like unhealthy living conditions, food insecurity and poor perinatal health. The two most common chronic conditions of childhood and adolescence managed by primary care physicians around the world and in Saudi Arabia are asthma and diabetes. Common risk factors across various diseases are urbanization, poor lifestyle, and consanguinity. The research on childhood-onset diseases and their different phenotypes in Saudi Arabia is scarce and confined largely to a few highly prevalent conditions at present.
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