When your child is diagnosed with a lung condition

Useful definitions for children's lung conditions

Understanding more about your child’s diagnosis can help you feel more in control.

As well as the diagnosis itself, you might have heard lots of different words used to describe your child’s condition. We’ve defined the main ones for you here. More than one of these words can be used to describe the same condition.

Words to describe the causes of your child’s condition:

  • congenital: means a condition that your child has from birth – although you might not see symptoms straight away
  • genetic or hereditary: a condition that your child has because of their genes
  • acquired: a condition that your child gets because of other causes - anything that isn’t caused by their genes

Words to describe when the condition will affect your child:

  • episodic: a condition that comes and goes –there will be times when your child has symptoms and times when your child does not. Some children will only have the condition once
  • recurrent: used to talk about symptoms that come back
  • chronic: a condition or disease that lasts a long time (a condition has to last over three months to be called chronic, but it could last a lot longer)
  • long-term: a condition that your child may always have

These words can be used to refer to infections or to other types of condition.

Our information describes specific lung and breathing conditions that affect children.

We’ve also included links to more detailed information and support on individual conditions.

Last medically reviewed: September 2016. Due for review: September 2019

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.