Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The Changing Face of Severe Asthma: Boys in Childhood and Women as Adults

14.10.2003


Almost two out of three children with severe asthma are boys. But women account for more than two out of three adults with severe asthma. And no one really knows why. Those are some of the most striking results of a cross-sectional study of severe asthma by researchers from National Jewish Medical and Research Center being published in the October issue of the journal Chest. The research team, led by Joseph Spahn, M.D., also found that children with severe asthma had surprisingly good airflow in and out of their lungs, which could lead to misdiagnosis and undertreatment of seriously ill patients.



"Our findings highlight many of the significant differences between severe asthma in children and adults," said Dr. Spahn. "We hope they will spur further research that can lead to a better understanding and better treatment of this disease."

People with severe asthma, whose asthma remains uncontrolled in spite of high doses of medication, represent 5 percent to 10 percent of the estimated 20 million asthma patients in the United States. But they are important in terms of suffering, medical costs and difficulty finding effective treatments. Dr. Spahn and his colleagues examined a variety of demographic and biological data for 275 patients with severe asthma who had been referred to National Jewish.


Physicians have suspected that severe asthma differs considerably from childhood to adulthood, and indeed that turned out to be the case. The greatest difference was the male-to-female ratio. Males accounted for 62% of the patients under age 18. But 68% of the severe asthma patients over 18 were female. A similar situation has been noted in mild and moderate asthma, but not in patients with severe asthma.

"There has been speculation that a woman’s hormones or possibly a difference in the size of male and female lungs play a role in this changing pattern of asthma prevalence, but no one really knows for sure why it occurs," said Dr. Spahn. "If we could learn why, we might gain valuable insight that could help us better treat all our asthma patients."

Dr. Spahn and his colleagues also found that children with severe asthma have deceptively good lung function. The amount of air a person can exhale in a second, known as forced expiratory volume in one second or FEV1, is one of the primary measures used to diagnose and categorize a patient’s asthma. Patients are deemed to have severe asthma when their FEV1 is less than 60 percent of the average value for healthy people of their size and age.

The adults in Spahn’s study had an average FEV1 that was 57 percent of the healthy average. Children in the study, however, averaged an FEV1 of 74 percent of the healthy average, with many exceeding 90 percent. Although other symptoms, such as medication use and history of asthma attacks, clearly put them in the severe category, the FEV1 results alone would have indicated that more than 40 percent had mild asthma and only 28 percent severe disease.

"The good news is that children have significantly less impaired lung function than do adults with asthma," said Dr. Spahn. "The bad news is that existing guidelines do not reflect this fact, and physicians may be mistakenly reassured by normal or near normal lung function readings in their pediatric patients. As a result, they may fail to appreciate the severity of their patients’ asthma and undertreat them."

The study also indicates that patients whose asthma began in childhood rapidly lose lung function through adolescence then level off to a more moderate decline as they reach adulthood. Patients whose asthma began in adulthood, however, lose lung function almost immediately.

"Child-onset and adult-onset asthma may be two distinct forms of the disease, one that is slowly progressive over time and another that is associated with significant loss of lung function very shortly after onset," said Dr. Spahn.

William Allstetter | National Jewish News
Further information:
http://www.nationaljewish.org/news/severe_asthma.html

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht AI study of risk factors in type 1 diabetes
06.03.2019 | University of Gothenburg

nachricht Rising CO2 has unforeseen strong impact on Arctic plant productivity
21.02.2019 | Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Revealing the secret of the vacuum for the first time

New research group at the University of Jena combines theory and experiment to demonstrate for the first time certain physical processes in a quantum vacuum

For most people, a vacuum is an empty space. Quantum physics, on the other hand, assumes that even in this lowest-energy state, particles and antiparticles...

Im Focus: Sussex scientists one step closer to a clock that could replace GPS and Galileo

Physicists in the EPic Lab at University of Sussex make crucial development in global race to develop a portable atomic clock

Scientists in the Emergent Photonics Lab (EPic Lab) at the University of Sussex have made a breakthrough to a crucial element of an atomic clock - devices...

Im Focus: Sensing shakes

A new way to sense earthquakes could help improve early warning systems

Every year earthquakes worldwide claim hundreds or even thousands of lives. Forewarning allows people to head for safety and a matter of seconds could spell...

Im Focus: A thermo-sensor for magnetic bits

New concept for energy-efficient data processing technology

Scientists of the Department of Physics at the University of Hamburg, Germany, detected the magnetic states of atoms on a surface using only heat. The...

Im Focus: The moiré patterns of three layers change the electronic properties of graphene

Combining an atomically thin graphene and a boron nitride layer at a slightly rotated angle changes their electrical properties. Physicists at the University of Basel have now shown for the first time the combination with a third layer can result in new material properties also in a three-layer sandwich of carbon and boron nitride. This significantly increases the number of potential synthetic materials, report the researchers in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Last year, researchers in the US caused a big stir when they showed that rotating two stacked graphene layers by a “magical” angle of 1.1 degrees turns...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers measure near-perfect performance in low-cost semiconductors

18.03.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Nanocrystal 'factory' could revolutionize quantum dot manufacturing

18.03.2019 | Materials Sciences

Long-distance quantum information exchange -- success at the nanoscale

18.03.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>