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Those who have asthma are aware that the condition is incurable. However, there may be stretches of times where asthma attacks and other symptoms don’t flare up. While these are nice periods of relief, this doesn’t mean your asthma has disappeared. Instead, going months between episodes is a testament to your asthma management plan. Avoiding asthmatic triggers, taking your medication or a combination of the two is working well for you.
You may have heard of instances where children with asthmatic symptoms seemingly stop experiencing their symptoms, out of the blue. The children don’t report any further breathing difficulties and go on with their lives. Is there some reality to this or is it just a myth? It is possible to outgrow your asthma? If so, how? Does everyone outgrow their asthma or is it just certain people? Why?
In this article, we’ll answer all those questions and more.
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute or NHLBI, asthma is more prevalent in adults than children. Of 25+ million asthma patients in the United States, a much smaller portion are children, only seven million. That leaves 18 million adult cases.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology or AAAAI supports these findings. They noted that children with asthma in the US were about 8.3 percent of the population in 2016.
Now, there are certain risk factors that boost your chances of developing asthma. For instance, children who are six years old and have had a lifelong history of respiratory infections or wheezing have greater chances of getting asthma. Those who have a family history of the condition as well as other conditions such as eczema and allergies are also more prone to having asthma.
Obesity in adults can bump up the chances of asthmatic symptoms, the AAAAI reports from its own data. They reviewed people of different weight groups between 2011 and 2014. Of those, asthma rates were 7.8 percent in overweight patients, 7.1 percent in patients of a regular weight, and 11.1 percent in the obese. Obese women are the most effected, as their chances of having asthma spike by 14.6 percent.
Finally, having influenza can also boost someone’s chances of getting asthma, as can working certain jobs. About 15.7 percent of adults with asthma in the US, or 1.9 million people, have occupational asthma.
The answer is a complicated yes, and no.
First, outgrowing one’s asthma is entirely dependent on age. A patient exhibiting symptoms must be very young, such as in their infancy, notes the AAAAI. Children at this age rarely have full-blown asthma, but rather wheezing and viral respiratory conditions.
This may raise the question of whether these children were ever experiencing asthma in the first place. This especially becomes something worth thinking about when you consider that the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology or ACAAI says that outgrowing one’s asthma is impossible.
According to the ACAAI, it’s possible to get complacent with a childhood case of asthma because symptoms may manifest less often during a child’s developing years. The ACAAI cautions against believing that the case of asthma is gone completely, though. They add that symptoms can and do persist into adulthood.
Even if these patients do “outgrow” their asthmatic symptoms, that doesn’t mean the damage asthma causes disappears. Another AAAAI article from 2013 notes that these children will always have a different lung structure as well as decreased lung function compared to those who never had asthma.
The AAAAI says that even if outgrowing symptoms is possible, it wholly depends on the environment the baby or child grows up in. If both parents deal with prevalent asthma or allergy attacks, then the child’s chances of outgrowing their own symptoms decreases. Additionally, they will probably deal with asthma for life if one or both parents smoke, if the child already has allergies, or if they were diagnosed with atopic dermatitis.
It seems the reason some children will outgrow their asthma symptoms while others won’t comes down to a few things. The first is family history. Second, environmental factors. Growing up in a household where parents smoke cigarettes can affect a child’s lungs as they breathe in secondhand smoke. That may contribute towards their predilection to get asthma.
Finally, a child’s health is a big determinant of their future with asthma. If a child has health issues like wheezing, respiratory infections and other illnesses, then their asthma is more likely to stick around.
If you or your child have not been able to outgrow your asthma symptoms, don’t feel bad. As mentioned, asthma is incurable for most people. Here at Carolina Asthma & Allergy Center, we can help you have more good days living with your asthma. We’re specialists when it comes to allergies and asthma and have operated for more than 60 years in Charlotte and have many other offices throughout North and South Carolina.
If you’re ready to get your asthma under control and take back your life, give us a call. We can come up with an asthma management plan, including avoidance of triggers and prescription to medications as needed. Just because you can’t cure asthma doesn’t mean you have to live every day with breathing difficulties. Today is the day to do something about your asthma. Contact Carolina Asthma & Allergy Center for help.