Dramatic Strides Against Childhood Asthma
Better Medicines Helping Kids With Asthma Fare Better Than in Years Past
Has Natural History of Asthma Been Altered?
But not all the news is good. Children in the latter time period were just
as likely to be overweight as in years past. About half suffered from the
fragile, thinning bones of osteopenia, a comparable figure to a decade
And there was no difference in the proportion who suffered severe attacks
that required the child to be placed on a ventilator to aid breathing.
“As good as the new medications are, we still need better ones for
exacerbations,” Spahn says.
The big question, he says, is “whether these changes represent a permanent
alteration. Have we actually taken the kids off the track toward severe
impairment? Or are we just delaying the inevitable?”
Nancy Ostrom, MD, says that she has seen a dramatic drop in
hospitalizations, even deaths, from severe asthma among children in her own
practice. Ostrom, co-director of the Allergy and Asthma Medical Group and
Research Center in San Diego, moderated the session at which the findings were
In addition to new medications, she credits a greater awareness of the
disorder among doctors and patients for the improvement.
“Still, too many children have uncontrolled asthma. There’s still a long way
to go to control the disease and improve quality of life in as safe a manner as
possible,” Ostrom tells WebMD.