Childhood asthma can be a limiting factor for children who want to run and play like their peers. Luckily, nearly half of children grow out of the shortness of breath and restricted airways that characterize childhood asthma. New research from Duke University looks into genetic testing that may predict which children will suffer only during their younger years and which may deal with symptoms into adulthood.
Duke University researchers compared data from two major asthma studies to create a genetic profile of asthma risk. The first study, the GABRIEL project, was a large-scale (26,000 patients!) genome-wide association study of asthma. The second study, the Dunedin study, followed 1,000 patients for the 1st 40 years of their life.
Those with the highest genetic risk score were prone to earlier onset, more severe symptoms, chronic allergic asthma and duration into adulthood. Patients with the higher scores missed more work and school due to asthma symptoms than those with lower scores.
The study gives more credence to genetics as a key factor in long-term asthma. It will help doctors examine whether your child may be able to outgrow asthma—something that has not been explored to this depth before.
However, a simple genetic test is a work in progress because researchers are still trying to discover additional risk factors.
What Are Ways to Avoid Asthma Triggers?
Following these tips and your doctor’s instructions can help ease your child’s symptoms. An asthma diagnosis can be scary for kids and parents alike but taking these steps can lessen the possibility of an asthma attack. Creating an asthma action plan can also be a great start!
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Winifred M. Reilly, M.A., MFT