The care of adolescents with asthma has been largely neglected, yet adolescents have particular needs that differ from those of children or adults with asthma. There are over 800,000 teenagers in the UK who suffer from asthma and underdiagnosis and poor treatment are common. The prevalence and level of morbidity from asthma in adolescents are as high as or higher than the rates in younger schoolchildren. Poor symptom control frequently reflects poor compliance with treatment. The beliefs and fears of teenagers about their asthma and its treatment are often not recognised or addressed in clinical consultations. Improved communication on the part of health professionals, which results in negotiating simple management plans that are tailored to the individual patient's concerns and goals, is more likely to improve compliance and asthma control than are complex plans made unilaterally by the doctor. The transition of care from the paediatric to the adult clinic remains a challenge for paediatricians and there is a lack of consensus over the best method of achieving this.
Copyright 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd.