Can You Outgrow Asthma?

“Don’t worry, you’ll grow out of your asthma someday.” While these words can be reassuring to many young people with asthma, they aren’t necessarily true. Unfortunately, the idea that you can leave asthma behind once you hit adulthood in many cases is just a myth.

When Asthma Won’t Let Go

Asthma is one of the most common long-term diseases in children. But it can affect people for their whole lives. While it’s true that some see their asthma fade as they get older, particularly in the teen years, many others don’t. Or their asthma symptoms may disappear for a while, then pop up later on in adulthood.

The reappearance of asthma is actually quite common. One study in the journal Respiratory Research examined about 700 participants and sorted them into three groups based on their asthma status: complete remission, remission followed by relapse, and persistence. On average, more than one-third experienced a relapse in symptoms.

Who Is At Risk?

Doctors can’t easily predict which people will see their asthma return or continue later on in life. But certain people may be more likely to have asthma through their adult years. According to several studies, those who are most likely to have persistent asthma include:

  • Women

  • Individuals who developed asthma before age 12

  • Smokers

  • People allergic to furred animals

Keeping Asthma Under Control

Many of the same tips that help keep childhood asthma under control also work for adults. You can reduce the risk for asthma attacks by avoiding certain triggers that can make asthma worse, such as smoke. Here are some tips to control these triggers:

  • Use dust-mite-proof mattress covers.

  • Don’t allow pets to sleep in the bedroom.

  • Keep your indoor humidity below 45 percent to control allergy-causing mold.

If you are concerned about your asthma or history of asthma, talk with your doctor. Together, you can discuss what to do to reduce your chances of having an attack.

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