Answers: Are You an Asthma Expert?
1. The number of children in the U.S. who have asthma is roughly:
1 in 10. According to the most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6.7 million Americans under the age of 18 have asthma; thats equal to 9.1% of the population.
2. Some children can outgrow asthma.
True. Studies following asthmatic children over time have reported that as many as 40% to 75% see their symptoms disappear by the time they reach adulthood. Between 12% and 35% of the children whose symptoms disappear experience a relapse, however.
3. Children of which gender are more likely to develop asthma?
Boys. The rate of asthma diagnosis is 30% higher among boys. The rate among adult women is 25% higher than that in men, however, and research suggests that boys may be more likely to outgrow asthma after puberty. A 2008 study in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine followed more than 1,000 asthmatic children through their teen years and found that by the age of 18, 27% of the boys no longer had asthma, compared to just 14% of the girls.
4. Children who are breast-fed have a higher risk of developing asthma.
Maybe. The evidence linking asthma and breast-feeding is mixed. Some studies have shown that breast-fed children may increase a childs risk of developing asthma (especially if the mother has asthma herself), but other studies suggest that breast-feeding actually has a protective effect. Still, others have found no connection at all.
5. Which of the following is not a symptom of childhood asthma?
Muscle pain. Asthma affects the respiratory system; the airways of children with the condition are chronically inflamed. Muscle pain is therefore not a symptom of asthma, although it is a rare side effect of some medications used to treat asthma.
6. Which of the following are known to trigger asthma attacks in children?
All of the above. An asthma attack occurs when something irritates or inflames the airways. Allergens, airborne irritants, infections, and environmental factors can all cause asthma attacks.
7. Which sport/activity is most likely to induce an asthma attack in children?
Basketball. Sports such as basketball that require endurance and sustained exertion with few opportunities to rest are more likely to trigger an asthma attack. Sports that require relatively short, intense bursts of exertion (such as sprinting) cause attacks less often. Though swimming falls somewhere in between these two categories, it is believed to cause fewer asthma attacks than land-based sports, possibly due to the humidity of the air that swimmers inhale. The good news is that asthma can be overcome; many professional athletes have won gold medals and broken world records despite having asthma.
8. Asthma is genetic.
True. Studies involving twins have reported that whether or not a child develops asthma is anywhere from 50% to 80% dependent on genetic factors (as opposed to environmental factors).
9. Eczema is a sign that a child could develop asthma.
True. Anywhere from 50% to 80% of children who have atopic dermatitis (a form of eczema) will go on to develop asthma. Experts arent sure why the two conditions are related. One possible explanation is that the allergic inflammation that causes atopic dermatitis may make the airways of the lungs more prone to inflammation as well.
10. Asthma can be cured.
False. There is no cure for asthma, but the condition can be controlled effectively with medication and by limiting exposure to pollutants, smoke, household allergens, mold, and dust.