Can Kids Outgrow Asthma?

by John Bottrell Health Professional

There used to be a myth that asthma goes away with age.
I was told my asthma would go away
many times when I was a kid, and now at 43 I still have it. Today,
doctors know asthma never goes away, although it does sometimes go into remission.

The million dollar question of the day is: How do you know which kids
will eventually "outgrow" their asthma?

Personally, even as my doctors told me I'd outgrow it, I knew it was too good to be true. I guess it was a good thing I reasoned this way, because it prevented a let down when, ahem, my asthma never did go away.
It's controlled, but it's still there.

However, a new study by Swedish researchers concluded that kids with severe asthma who are allergic to animals have an 82 percent chance of still having asthma when they grow up.

Well, I had severe asthma as a kid, and I was allergic to dogs, cats, horses, and probably any other animal that walked the earth.
I also still have asthma.
So, it would appear the study might be right.

But it might not.
As with all studies, you have to take it with a grain of salt.
Still, it's pretty neat.

The researchers followed 248 Swedish children aged 7-8 in 1996, and the parents of these kids were interviewed every year until the kids were 19.

Other study results:

  • Being male, not having severe asthma, and not having an animal allergy as a child nearly doubled the chance of asthma
    going into remission

  • Having a parent with asthma had no affect on whether childhood asthma would go into remission (other studies do find a link here, however)

  • Living in a damp or rural home had no affect on whether childhood asthma would go into remission

  • Parental smoking had no affect
    on whether childhood asthma would go into remission

Again, this is only one study, but if it turns out to be true, it's pretty neat.

What we do know for sure is that allergies sure complicate asthma.
I can tell you that from personal experience.
Allergies plus asthma evidently appear to be an indicator that childhood asthma will probably not go away.

Or, as noted by one of the experts quoted in the Reuters article, "It seems clear that the mixture of asthma and allergy in childhood is not such a good thing in terms of asthma going away."

I don't know about you, but if I'm a kid with asthma (or a parent of one, as I am), I'd like to know if my asthma (or my child's)
a good chance of some day going away.
Or whether I need to prepare myself (or my child) for a lifetime of this disease.

What do you think?

John Bottrell
Meet Our Writer
John Bottrell

John Bottrell is a registered Respiratory Therapist. He wrote for HealthCentral as a health professional for Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).