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Bronchitis in children is connected to adult lung problems: Study

by Pragati Singh

Bronchitis in childhood has been proven to raise the risk of lung disorders in middle age, according to study from the University of Melbourne’s Allergy and Lung Health Unit. Researchers discovered that children in Australia who experienced bronchitis at least once before the age of seven were more likely to have lung issues later in life. They also discovered that at the age of 53, the children’s lung problems were mainly asthma and pneumonia, rather than chronic bronchitis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Dr Jennifer Perret, lead author of a report published today in the journal BMJ Open Respiratory Research, said the findings originate from one of the world’s oldest surveys, the Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study, which monitored 8,583 persons born in Tasmania between 1961 and 1968.

“This is the first long-term prospective study to look at the link between childhood bronchitis severity and adult lung health outcomes. We’ve already seen that children with chronic bacterial bronchitis are more likely to develop serious chronic infective lung disease after two to five years, so studies like ours are documenting the potential for symptomatic children to develop lung conditions like asthma and lung function changes up to mid-adulthood “She stated.

By assessing the initial participants when they entered the study, researchers established the association between childhood bronchitis and adult lung problems. Participants were subsequently followed for an average of 46 years, with 42% completing another questionnaire between 2012 and 2016, which included doctor-diagnosed lung problems and a clinical examination.
They discovered that the more frequently a person was diagnosed by a doctor with pneumonia and asthma, the more probable the individual experienced bronchitis as a youngster.

According to Dr. Perret, the numbers in the most severe subgroup were tiny (only 42 people were in this category, and only 14 of them had ongoing asthma in middle age), but the patterns throughout bronchitis severity levels were substantial.

“Compared with the majority who never had from bronchitis, there was an incremental increase in risk for later asthma and pneumonia which strengthened the more often a person had suffered from bronchitis as a child, and especially if they had recurrent episodes which were prolonged for at least one month in duration.

“It is notable that the link with later adult active asthma was seen for participants who did not have co-existent asthma or wheezing in childhood, and a similar finding has been recently seen in a very large meta-analysis of school-aged children who had had a lower respiratory tract infection during early childhood.”



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