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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 earlier.

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 presented.

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.


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