Health problems and lifestyle factors - Children and young people
Health problems and lifestyle factors
It is not possible to discuss all common health problems in children and adolescents in this book. Then it should be a book about pediatrics, pediatric dentistry and pharmacy in children. We do, however, explain some lifestyle factors and health problems.
The dietary pattern affects health. Many children and young people eat and drink at all times of the day, and these are often sweet drinks and sweets. These habits have a major impact on children's oral health, weight and general health (musculoskeletal complaints, diabetes). Overweight and muscle and joint complaints have consequences for the amount of exercise. Fat children move less. Apart from that, they are more often the target of bullying. Teenagers can start experimenting with the use of resources (alcohol, cigarettes, weed, party drugs), gaming and gambling, and whether or not to do this regularly. They gain experience with relationships, sex and the use of contraception.
Oral health in children and adolescents
Figures about the oral health in children and adolescents differ per region. In Rotterdam, the situation in 2016 is not very favorable: more than 20% of the six-year-olds have one or more holes. Hindustani-Surinamese children have three or more holes twice as often as Dutch children. This is even more common among Turkish and Moroccan children. Of the children and young people 3 to 9% have fear of dental treatment. This fear is more common among young people from low socio-economic groups than those from higher SES groups.
Symptoms of ASD
Nowadays people prefer an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) rather than autism. There are many variants. To hear ASS: autism, Asperger syndrome and PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder, not described), but nowadays this distinction is no longer made. In the case of autism spectrum disorders it is possible to indicate in which area the most restrictions exist: limitations in social communication and interaction and / or repetitive behavior and specific interests. ASD is more common in boys than in girls. The disorder is already present at birth, but is only expressed later.
ASD affects all kinds of areas: cognitive, emotional, social, behavior. In addition, the language and speech development can also be disturbed. There are also large differences in symptoms between people with ASD. The symptoms are the result of a disturbed stimulation and information processing in the brain. The intelligence of people with ASD varies from highly gifted to intellectually limited.
Here we only discuss the most important phenomena that affect daily functioning and contacts with others. These are important for the assistant in patient contact.
Contact with others
Many people with ASD have difficulty making contact, sometimes also with looking. Children with ASD do not or hardly play together with other children. People with ASD have difficulty living in the other.
Processing of stimuli
The stimuli that the senses receive are processed and interpreted by the brain. Many people with ASD are very sensitive to certain stimuli. They come in very strong, as it were. And then the stimuli are soon too much. Some people with ASD mainly have trouble with (unexpected) touches, others with sound or visual stimuli.
Focused on details
People with ASD often have difficulty seeing the whole. They are very busy with certain details. They have specific interest in certain objects, numbers, words or subjects and show little attention to other things. In contact with others, for example, they focus more on objects than on people or the conversation itself. When they are treated in the dental practice they are more concerned with a mirror or lamp with the dentist or the assistant. They can stay busy for a long time with a subject or object.
Language, words and phrases sometimes include people with ASD literally. If you ask someone with ASD if he got out of bed with the wrong leg, he can think long about whether you have a good leg and a wrong leg. But what is wrong with a leg?
People with ASD hear the literal message, but can not think of what you mean by it. If you say 'the journey here', many people will close the door or the window. People with ASD do hear the literal message, but not the message behind it ('do you want to close the window?').
Some people with ASD show stereotyped behaviors: they always repeat the same movements and the same behavior.
Difficulty with changes
People with ASD have difficulty with changes and unexpected events. When a day or activity does not follow a fixed pattern, it causes great stress. This can manifest itself in for example anger, unrest or crying. Doctor or dentist visit means by definition that the day is different and thus evokes stress and resistance.
Children with serious multiple health problems
Seriously handicapped children have physical limitations (visual impairment, hearing problems, dental problems, movement disorders due to neurological disorders, epilepsy), in addition to an intellectual disability. In these children, health problems such as reflux, constipation, respiratory infections, swallowing problems and choking occur much more often than with other children.