Some kids can "outgrow" asthma (search), but most don't, a new study shows.
For nine years, Ronina Covar, MD, of National Jewish Medical and Research Center, Denver, and colleagues followed 900 children with mild to moderate asthma.
Only 6 percent of the kids fully "outgrew" their asthma. This means they had no asthma symptoms for at least one full year.
On the bright side, an additional 39 percent of the kids had improvement in their asthma. These kids only sometimes had asthma symptoms.
Covar presented the findings in a report at this week's annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology in San Antonio.
Which Kids Outgrow Asthma?
Is it possible to predict which kids will outgrow asthma? Not exactly. But Covar and colleagues found that some kids were more likely to have full remission:
—Kids are more likely to outgrow asthma if their blood tests show fewer and fewer allergy markers (search) as they get older. Some kids have asthma that is trigged by allergies.
—Kids are more likely to outgrow asthma if they have less sensitive lungs. People with asthma have airways that overreact to irritants that only mildly affect other people.
—Kids are more likely to outgrow asthma if they have good lung function on testing.
—Kids are more likely to outgrow asthma if they do not improve with inhaled steroids. Since inhaled steroids reduce inflammation and airway sensitivity to allergy triggers, this is a sign that the kids’ asthma may not have been caused by allergies.
—Kids are more likely to outgrow asthma if they have less need for daily asthma medicines to lessen the frequency and severity of asthma attacks.
If kids need daily asthma medicines, it's important for them to take them. But long-term use of asthma drugs has no effect on outgrowing asthma. Even using inhaled steroids has no effect on the outgrowing of asthma by kids.
SOURCES: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology Annual Meeting, San Antonio, March 18-22, 2005. News release, National Jewish Medical and Research Center, Denver.