Published Online: February 1, 2013
Many children will eventually outgrow their asthma. But some studies suggest that even if they no longer have asthma symptoms as adults, they may still have reduced lung function and changes in their lung structure. The longest study of child-onset asthma so far has followed participants into their forties. Whether people with a history of childhood asthma have reduced lung function and altered lung structure after that is not well understood.
In a recent issue of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI), Donohue et al. theorized that a history of child onset asthma would be associated with reduced lung function an narrower airways later in life. They used data collected from 3,965 older adults who underwent lung function testing and airway measurement on CT scan in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis Lung Study.
The authors found that people who had ever had asthma during childhood or young adulthood had lower lung function and narrower airways later in life, even if they had outgrown their asthma and been without symptoms for several decades. In fact, the longer the asthma had lasted, the worse the findings. Every additional year of having had asthma was associated with narrower airway lumens and thicker airway walls.
The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) is an official scientific journal of the AAAAI, and is the most-cited journal in the field of allergy and clinical immunology.