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Can Asthma Go Away?


Girl using an inhaler

If you are an asthma sufferer, is there any chance that your asthma can go away? Those with asthma, especially children, can become frustrated with this ailment and often wonder if they will have to deal with the wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness for the rest of their lives.

And just as importantly, if their symptoms do seem to disappear altogether, does that mean they can discontinue their medication?


Can Children Outgrow Their Asthma?


While medical professionals and scientists don’t know the exact reason, almost one out of every two children diagnosed with asthma see significant improvement as they age. This can even include the total elimination of their symptoms as they grow older.

It’s not possible to predict which children will outgrow their diagnosis, or which ones will show a dramatic decrease in symptoms. However, signs of asthma can return at any time, so it’s important to think of it more along the lines as a period of remission rather than complete recovery.

In reality, many who see their symptoms dissipate as they age may have their symptoms return at least occasionally, even as an adult.


Isn’t My Asthma Really Gone If I Don’t Have Symptoms?


Even if your asthma symptoms have largely subsided, the inflammation of other underlying parts of asthma may still be present. It’s not uncommon for symptoms of asthma to lie dormant for long periods of time.

If you really want to determine whether or not your asthma has gone away for good, you’ll have to have a biopsy performed.


Which People Have the Best Chance of Outgrowing Asthma?


When it comes to who has the best chance of seeing complete remission of asthma, the answer is complicated. The better response might be who doesn’t have a good chance of outgrowing their asthma.

For example, if a child experiences a lot of wheezing when they’re very young, it could be due to a viral infection in their respiratory system rather than asthma. In that case, the symptoms will die off with the virus. For small children, it can be a challenge to differentiate between asthma and a viral illness.

Those children under the age of three who experience several episodes of wheezing can expect to have continued wheezing if they have any of the following symptoms as well:


● An eczema diagnosis

● Food allergies

● A parent that has asthma

● Episodes of wheezing that are not due to colds


Boy using an inhaler

Studies have shown that fewer than 6 out of every 100 children can be considered in complete remission from their asthma diagnosis. This means the child shows no signs or symptoms of asthma, doesn’t require medication, and hasn’t had to receive care from a medical facility.

There are a few factors which have been found to increase the chances that a person might experience a period of remission from their asthma symptoms, or an improvement in their asthma. They include:


● Older when first diagnosed with asthma

● Boys have a greater likelihood of remission than girls

● Low biochemical levels of asthma

● Wheezing only occurs during a cold, otherwise, no symptoms

● Less sensitivity in the lungs

● Reduced exposure and sensitivity to allergens

● Never diagnosed with eczema or other allergy-related diseases

● Decreased need for asthma medication

● Less severe symptoms overall


There are certain portions of our DNA which through genetic testing have been identified as showing that certain people are more likely to develop asthma throughout the course of their lives. This is true even if their family does not have a history of asthma.

Even though it’s not currently available in research studies, there may one day be a way for us to determine the exact trajectory that ailments like asthma will play in our lives. This will give us a better understanding of whether wheezing at a young age is likely to play a significant part in our lives. Unfortunately, we're not there yet.


Wrapping Up


As far as our initial question goes, can asthma go away, it would appear that the correct answer simply is “maybe.” Remember that ignoring symptoms of asthma can be a huge risk. However, if you or one of your children have shown significant improvement, then you may want to visit with your doctor about reducing medication.

While it may seem like you’re in a period of remission - and you might be - always speak with your medical professional before discontinuing medication or making changes to how you treat your asthma.

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Contact us for more information

Mathew M. Varghese, MD

Pediatric & Adult Allergy Specialists

136 North Washington Ave. Suite 203

Bergenfield, NJ 07621

1201 Summit Avenue

Jersey City, NJ 07307

 

8901 Kennedy Blvd West, Suite 4SW

North Bergen, NJ 07047

 

Tel:  201-374-1718  

Fax: 201-374-1719

 

 

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