Children who wheeze when they are sick may have a higher risk of developing asthma. According to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, there is a genetic component to wheezing during childhood illnesses and the development of asthma. More specifically, the risk for asthma is correlated with wheezing during the common cold; the parents of a sick child who also wheezes may have to worry about childhood-onset asthma.
Studies from various research centers around the world have demonstrated that children with specific genetic variants on a part of chromosome 17 have a high risk of developing asthma at a very young age. This region, called 17q21, has two genes that can increase the risk of asthma: ORMDL3 and GSDMB. When children with variants of these genes contract a common cold, they may tend to wheeze while they are sick.
The conclusions from the study seem to point to a genetic cause for some asthma cases. In the study, children who had both genetic variants carried a 90 percent chance of developing asthma by the age of six. Approximately six million children in the United States are living with asthma. While asthma is a serious condition at any age, asthma in children can be particularly tricky to manage. Long-acting bronchodilators are not recommended for use by children because powerful steroids must be taken with these drugs. Instead, treatment for asthma in children usually involves the use of short-acting bronchodilators or a nebulizer. Left untreated, asthma attacks can be deadly. Therefore, it is important that the risk for asthma is either ruled out or appropriately diagnosed in children prone to wheezing.
The Asthma and Allergy Associates, or AACOS, can help parents assess the risk for asthma in children and subsequently help to manage the asthma symptoms the child experiences. If parents have noticed that their sick child wheezes during the course of their illness, they may want to contact a doctor in order to check for possible asthma symptoms in their child due to genetic variants. If the condition is caught early enough, the child may reduce issues with asthma and be able to lead a normal life.
If you are worried about your child, contact the Asthma and Allergy Associates today, they can help!