A recent study has demonstrated that asthma is most certainly a condition that will last over a person’s lifetime, and there is no permanent recovery from it. While patients often go into remission from asthma, it can come back at any time in their lives.
Asthma is a chronic condition that causes airways to swell and restrict breathing. Stress, pollen, cold air, smog, and other environmental factors can cause asthma symptoms to worsen.
Yet in some cases, it would seem that children “outgrow” their asthma, and are no longer bothered by asthmatic symptoms. Or, an adult with asthma seems to have it “disappear” once they’re out of a certain environment, such as a factory. However, a recent study suggests that this change in a person’s health status is not a permanent change, and that asthma will eventually return after a period of remission.
A study conducted over 15 years, reviewing the health records of 600,000 patients of all age groups (children and adults) discovered that over 75% of patients who experienced remission with their asthma had relapses. This lead researchers to conclude that asthma is, in fact, a life-long condition, and patients should continue medical treatment as their doctor’s advise, even after symptoms seem to disappear. This means that, during remission periods, a patient should continue to see their doctor to report the absence of symptoms, and follow their care plan changes as their physician prescribes. In other words, if a patient has an asthma diagnosis, he or she should report it on all of their medically pertinent forms, even if they are in remission (asymptomatic for a long period of time).
Researchers also stated that, had the study reviewed a longer period of time, the return rate of asthma would have been close to or at 100%.
Additionally, the period that children often experience in adolescence where they are asymptomatic is not “outgrowing” asthma. Clinical and laboratory measurements demonstrate that these teens still have asthma, but are simply not symptomatic. In other words, there is a period of remission. The asthma will return eventually — even if it takes many years.
Asthma seems to be a life-long condition rather than something a person can “outgrow” — if a patient maintains an awareness of this, and continues treatment per their doctor’s instructions, a high quality of life can be achieved and maintained.