How well asthma symptoms are controlled early in life can predict whether a child will continue to have the lung disease as an adult, a study has found.
Parents have a good window of opportunity while their kids are young to increase their chances of growing out of preschool asthma, says a leading international researcher.
A study or more than 100,000 Canadian children, presented at a major health conference in Adelaide on Monday, found good asthma control in the first five years of life significantly increased the likelihood of disease remission.
Lead researcher Professor Francine Ducharme, from the University of Montreal, said children who had poor control of their asthma, with recurrent hospital admission, were nearly 80 per cent less likely to go into remission.
"That's huge," said Prof Ducharme.
Many preschoolers with asthma experience disease remission by the age of six to eight.
What this study has shown is that factors that determine the likelihood of remission can be modified, said Prof Ducharme.
"This opens up a window of opportunity to intervene not only to improve short-term asthma control but also long-term disease remission and perhaps cure," she said.
For the study, researchers examined health data among a cohort of children born between 1990 and 2013 in four Canadian provinces (Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia).
Of 1.3 million live births, 118,785 children less than five years of age had been diagnosed with preschool asthma.
Poorer asthma control in the first two years after diagnosis was associated with incrementally lower likelihood of asthma remission.
Presented at the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ) Annual Scientific Meeting, the "exciting" findings have been welcomed by the National Asthma Council.
"This study is great news for parents of kids with asthma. It shows that carefully managing asthma in preschoolers, with the right treatment at the right time, works," said CEO Siobhan Brophy.
"Not only do the kids breathe better now, they will breathe better in the future. They may even grow out of asthma."