Study: Children with bronchitis may develop lung problems as adults

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According to a study by the Allergy and Lung Health Unit at the University of Melbourne, bronchitis in early childhood was found to increase the risk of lung disease in middle age.

Researchers found that Australian children who had at least one bronchitis before the age of seven were more likely to have lung problems later in life. The results were published in the BMJ. They also found that the lung diseases children suffered from by the time they turned 53 were usually asthma and pneumonia, rather than chronic bronchitis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Lead author of a paper published today in the journal BMJ Open Respiratory Research, Dr Jennifer Perret, said the findings come from one of the world’s oldest surveys, the Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study, which has followed 8,583 people born in Tasmania in 1961 and started school in 1968.

“This is the first very long-term prospective study that has examined the relationship between the severity of childhood bronchitis and lung health outcomes in adults. We have already seen that children with prolonged bacterial bronchitis are at increased risk of serious chronic infectious lung disease after two to five years, so studies like ours document the potential for symptomatic children to develop lung conditions, such as asthma and changes in lung function, up to into adulthood,” she said.

They also found that the lung diseases children suffered from by the time they turned 53 were usually asthma and pneumonia, rather than chronic bronchitis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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