Do you have a child with asthma? Childhood asthma is one of the most common reasons for lost days from school. In some cases asthma can severely limit a child’s ability to carry out physical activity and may require frequent trips to the emergency room for treatment. As a parent, you’re probably concerned about the limitations this diagnosis places on your child and wonder if it’s likely that your child will outgrow asthma. A study published in Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine addressed this issue.
The researchers looked at 34,216 children who’d been diagnosed with asthma before age six. They discovered that roughly fifty percent of the children had persistence of their asthma symptoms by age twelve, requiring at least one doctor’s visit or hospitalization during the six year period. There seemed to be certain factors in common in the kids who didn’t outgrow asthma.
Kids with persistent asthma were more likely to be male children living in urban rather than rural areas. They were also more likely to be of low birth weight and require frequent consultation with a doctor for asthma symptoms during the first year of their diagnosis. It also appeared that a child who had to be hospitalized for asthma symptoms during their first year with the disease was less likely to outgrow asthma than children requiring no hospitalizations. Interestingly, there was also an association with the presence of a skin condition known as eczema. Children diagnosed with eczema or who had a family history or eczema were less likely to outgrow asthma.
Although it doesn’t appear that the overwhelming majority of kids with asthma outgrow their symptoms, studies have shown that a significant number improve, meaning they require less frequent doctor’s visits and hospitalizations as they get older. A child is more likely to outgrow asthma if he or she doesn’t require use of asthma medications on a daily basis, signifying a less severe form of the disease may be present. Unfortunately, some children develop worsening asthma symptoms as they mature.
As a parent, you may wonder what you can do to increase the odds that your child will outgrow asthma. Unfortunately, there’s little that you as a parent can do to increase the odds of a child with asthma getting better with age. Asthma tends to be a chronic disease, although with treatment a child with asthma can lead a normal life. The most important precaution is to make sure your child receives medical consultation for his symptoms and takes any prescribed asthma medications as needed.