advertisement
29 January 2014

Preemies face higher risk of asthma when older

An analysis of existing research suggests that premature babies face a higher risk of developing asthma and wheezing disorders when they're older.

0

A new analysis of existing research suggests that premature babies face a higher risk of developing asthma and wheezing disorders when they're older.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School, the Maastricht University Medical Centre in the Netherlands and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland examined 30 studies that included about 1.5 million children.

Read:

How colds cause coughs and wheezes

Early wheezing tied to childhood asthma risk

How traffic, dust increase asthma in kids

They found that premature children (born before 37 weeks of gestation) were 46% more likely to develop asthma or wheezing problems than kids who weren't born prematurely. Full-term birth is generally considered about 40 weeks' gestation.

Very premature children (those born before 32 weeks' gestation) faced an even higher estimated risk almost three times that of children born at full term, said Jasper Been, from Maastricht University, and his colleagues.

Life-long consequences

About 11% of children are born prematurely, the study authors said in the report, which was published in the online edition of the journal PLoS Medicine.

"The current findings do not support prior suggestions that the association between preterm birth and wheezing disorders becomes less prominent with increasing age," the researchers wrote in the report. "Instead, the strength of the association was similar across age groups [up to 18 years]," which suggests that the effects of preterm birth on the lungs tend to have life-long consequences.

Although the study found an association between premature birth and respiratory problems such as asthma later in life, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

Read more:

Preemie babies at risk of developing asthma

Preemies risk breathing problems

Preemies may be at higher risk of epilepsy later in life

 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X
advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Watch out! »

Gross fungal infections you can pick up at the gym

You go to gym to exercise. But make sure the only thing you pick up is a dumbbell and not one of these gross fungal infections.

Holiday health »

Your 10-step asthma holiday checklist

Don’t let asthma ruin your summer holiday. Whether you are travelling or embracing the summer at home, make sure you plan ahead.