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Children's Health

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Tonsil and Adenoid Problems in Kids Signal Overall Poorer Health


The investigators surveyed the parents of 154 children who were 2-16 years old. A subset of 55 children had one of several types of ongoing tonsil or adenoid disease, such as recurrent tonsillitis or chronic snoring. The average age of the children with tonsil and adenoid disease was approximately 6 years. The parents of the affected children completed a QOL questionnaire covering such areas as bodily pain, physical functioning, self esteem, emotional impact, and behavior.

"The mean scores of children with tonsil and adenoid disease were significantly lower ... than the mean scores of healthy subjects," the authors write. "Overall, general health perceptions for children with tonsil and adenoid disease were similar [to those of] children with asthma and arthritis. However, for children with tonsil and adenoid disease, some ... scores were lower ... including [those] related to emotional impact, behavior, and ... impact of the disease [on the parents]."

"This study ... finds many significant [quality of life factors] worsened by this disease," Charles Gross, MD, tells WebMD. "However, the study is limited by the size of the group and by grouping together children aged 2-16 years." Gross, a professor of otolaryngology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville, was not involved in the study.

"Although tonsil and adenoid problems are often considered trivial, some children have had dramatic changes in lifestyle," David Tunkel, MD, the director of pediatric otolaryngology at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, tells WebMD in an independent interview. "However, because these patients were [from] otolaryngology clinics [clinics that specialize in diseases that affect the ears, nose, and throat], it would be helpful to study children with tonsil and adenoid disease in pediatric practices."

Vital Information

  • Children with chronically infected tonsils and enlarged adenoids suffer from lower general health and have a poorer quality of life than healthy children.
  • The authors say the study should compel doctors to refocus more attention on children's quality of life when they have these common illnesses.
  • Parents should also be compelled to seek proper treatment for their children who suffer from chronically infected tonsils and enlarged adenoids.
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