Magazine article USA TODAY

Most Children Don't Outgrow Asthma

Magazine article USA TODAY

Most Children Don't Outgrow Asthma

Article excerpt

The myth that most children outgrow asthma by adulthood is just that, according to the American Lung Association. Research findings suggest that about three in four youngsters with moderate to severe asthma still will have breathing difficulties by the time they reach their mid 20s.

A study conducted by a team of Dutch and American researchers involved 350 youngsters under treatment for asthma, who first were examined at the age of eight to 12, then re-examined an average of 15 years later. Eighty-five percent of the women studied and 72% of the men had persistent, if less severe, respiratory symptoms. Moreover, fewer than half of all symptomatic adults were using medication, and just one in four were under a physician's care, suggesting that many adults don't outgrow asthma so much as they ignore it.

"As children mature, their airways grow larger, and that alone might ease the symptoms of asthma," suggests Scott Weiss, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a co-author of the study. "As an adult, you may think your asthma is gone, but the underlying disease is still present." The risk, he says, is that adults who ignore persistent asthma do worse in managing their condition. …

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