Many childhood asthmatics seem to get better with age.Sometimes asthma attacks come less often, or are less severe.In some cases asthma may seem to go away altogether, or to go into remission. Here are seven reasons to explain this phenomenon.
Asthma in boys often improves during teenage years. One theory for this suggests this may be due to an increase in testosterone levels. Testosterone (or one of its metabolites) may have an influence over the abnormal immune response that causes asthma.
Because you cannot see how other people feel, some parents have a hard time recognizing asthma in children. Making this worse, children are often poor communicators of how they feel. As they grow older and mature, children become better communicators, and this makes asthma easier to both diagnose and treat.
For liability reasons, few studies are done to show the impact of asthma medications on children under the age of 12. For this reason, some physicians are afraid to prescribe some medicines for children. For instance, Advair helps many adults obtain optimal asthma control, although pediatricians may be hesitant to allow their patients to try it. Once children get older, this becomes less of a problem.
Let’s face it, it’s not easy to get children, especially smaller children, to take medicine. In fact, it’s hard to get kids to take medicine when they feel sick, let alone when they feel well. Since asthma controller medicines must be taken every day, this may pose a problem for many childhood asthmatics. As children mature, they learn the importance of taking their medicine the right way every day.
Children are more likely to hang out in places where asthma triggers are most likely to be. For instance, children play in musty basements, on dirty floors, in forests, in the weeds, etc. As children mature they are more likely to get away and stay away from their asthma triggers.
Children tend to have smaller, more sensitive airways. This can make them more brittle, or more likely to become obstructed. As children go through puberty their airways become larger and less sensitive to asthma triggers. Surely asthma attacks may still occur, but they may tend to be less severe than during childhood.
Asthmatic airways tend to be chronically inflamed, making them hypersensitive to asthma triggers. Even a slight exposure a trigger (such as dust mites) may cause an asthma attack. As lungs mature, this inflammation may lesson to such a degree that airways become less sensitive. This may make asthma episodes so minor, or so non-existent, that asthma may appear to go into remission, or to go away altogether.
As children mature they are better able to communicate how they feel, more likely to be compliant with their medicine, and to avoid their asthma triggers. This alone may result in better asthma control. As children mature they also become better capable of communicating with their asthma doctors, something that is essential to good asthma control.
It’s important to understand that asthma never really goes away. Even if it seems you no longer have it, you still do. So it’s essential to continue seeing your asthma doctor at least once a year, and to never stop taking your asthma controller medicines without your doctor’s approval.
A Registered Respiratory Therapist and asthmatic