While asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) are two different diseases with different courses of treatment and outlook, a recent study found that they may not be as unrelated as originally thought.
A study posted in the New England Journal of Medicine set out to determine if severe asthma in early childhood could lead to a greater risk of COPD in adulthood.
A total of 700 participants between the ages of five and 12 agreed to be followed by researchers until they reached age 23, at the least. These participants all presented with moderate to severe asthma at the beginning of the study.
Participants were asked to check-in annually at one of eight research centers in Canada and the United States. During check-ins, participants were evaluated with lung function tests. Researchers hoped to use these tests to identify a pattern amongst participants.
Each of the 700 participants were randomly prescribed one of three inhaled therapies and given a rescue medication for flare-ups associated with asthma.
At the end of the study, researchers identified that 11 percent of the participants had COPD. Of that 11 percent, most were found to be male and had exhibited poor lung function at the beginning of the study. Those who lacked lung growth and who had the poorest lung function were found to have the greatest risk of developing COPD later in life.
Besides determining a connection between severe childhood asthma and COPD, researchers could not determine a cause and effect relationship between the two, but it could lead to more developments in the future.
Source: everydayhealth.com, Accessed: 12/2/16