Dr Mark Rosenthal

MD MB ChB FRCP FRCPCH BSc

Consultant in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine

also specialist in Food Allergies & Disorders of Sleep

A | A | A

T: 0207 351 8832

E: s.harvey@rbht.nhs.uk

A:The Royal Brompton Hospital, London, SW3 6NP

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It isn’t possible to tell which children will develop asthma, but there are some risk factors that can increase the risk. Whether or not these apply to your child, you should consult your doctor if you suspect asthma. You will get a clear diagnosis and advice on asthma treatments for children.

Is Asthma Becoming More Common?

Asthma does appear to be on the rise in the UK. This is partly due to better diagnosis and the availability of asthma treatments for children, which means that we now have more accurate records. However, it may also linked to our modern lifestyle. It has been suggested that our modern diet, housing and hygiene practices could play a role.

Risk Factors for Asthma

Some factors do seem to increase the chances that a child will develop asthma, although none of these are certain to lead to asthma. One factor that has a strong influence on the chances of developing cancer is genetics. If you have a family history of asthma, your child is more likely to have it too. The chances of having asthma are also increased if you have a history of eczema, hay fever, or food allergies in your family. If your child is diagnosed with one of these conditions, their chances of developing another will be higher too. Other factors can also increase the risk of asthma. Having bronchiolitis as a child, being exposed to tobacco smoke before birth or as a young child, and being born prematurely or with a low birth weight due to restricted growth, can make it more likely that a child will develop asthma.

You shouldn’t worry too much if these risk factors apply to your child, but it may help to find out more about asthma so that you will be able to recognise the symptoms if they do appear. Asthma treatments for children are very effective, so even if your child does develop the condition it can be managed.

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