Chil­dren with asthma less likely to fin­ish school and work in non-man­ual oc­cu­pa­tions

Iran Daily - - Health -

Peo­ple who suf­fer with per­sis­tent asthma from a young age are more likely to leave school at 16 years old and those who make it to univer­sity are more likely to drop out early, ac­cord­ing to new re­search pre­sented to­day at the Euro­pean Res­pi­ra­tory So­ci­ety In­ter­na­tional Congress.

The re­search also sug­gested that when this group of chil­dren grow up, they are less likely to work in cer­tain non-man­ual oc­cu­pa­tions such as po­lice of­fi­cer, clerk or fore­man, eu­rekalert. org re­ported.

Re­searchers be­hind the study say these re­sults sug­gest chil­dren with asthma are dis­ad­van­taged in ed­u­ca­tion and in their fu­ture work.

The re­search was pre­sented by Dr. Chris­tian Schyllert, a clin­i­cian at Karolin­ska Univer­sity Hospi­tal in Stock­holm, Swe­den, and a PHD stu­dent at Umeå Univer­sity. He ex­plained: “Asthma is one of the most com­mon chronic dis­eases among chil­dren and we know that it can in­ter­fere with daily life and af­fect school at­ten­dance. How­ever, we know a lot less about the im­pact child­hood asthma has on sub­se­quent life chances in adult­hood.”

The re­search was based on chil­dren liv­ing in three districts in Swe­den. In 1996, all chil­dren aged be­tween seven and eight years were in­vited to par­tic­i­pate in the study and 97 per­cent agreed. Par­tic­i­pants were fol­lowed-up at age 11-12, 19 and 27-28 years. By 2015, re­searchers were still in con­tact with 2,291 (59 per­cent) of par­tic­i­pants.

At the start of the study and at each fol­low-up, re­searchers noted whether chil­dren had asthma. This meant they had been di­ag­nosed with the con­di­tion by a doc­tor, and suf­fered wheez­ing or had taken asthma med­i­ca­tion dur­ing the pre­vi­ous 12 months. Chil­dren were con­sid­ered to have ‘ear­lyon­set, per­sis­tent asthma’ if they were first di­ag­nosed be­fore the age of 12 years and were still suf­fer­ing with asthma at 19 years old.

Re­searchers then com­pared this in­for­ma­tion with data on when chil­dren left ed­u­ca­tion and which oc­cu­pa­tions they en­tered. They took into ac­count other fac­tors, such as sex, body weight and smok­ing that could have an in­flu­ence on ed­u­ca­tion and work.

The anal­y­sis showed that chil­dren with early-on­set per­sis­tent asthma were three and half times more likely than chil­dren with­out asthma to leave school at the age of 16 with only ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion. They were also twice as likely to drop out of univer­sity be­fore com­plet­ing three years of study.

In terms of their ca­reers, chil­dren with early-on­set per­sis­tent asthma were less than half as likely to en­ter non­man­ual oc­cu­pa­tions, in­clud­ing clerk, nurs­ing as­sis­tant, po­lice of­fi­cer, musician and fore­man.

Schyllert said: “This study sug­gested that chil­dren who are di­ag­nosed with asthma when they are young and con­tinue to suf­fer with the con­di­tion as they grow up have worse life chances when it comes to their ed­u­ca­tion and their fu­ture jobs.

“We can’t tell from this study ex­actly why this is the case, but other re­search in­di­cated that chil­dren with asthma have lower school at­ten­dance and this might lead to asth­mat­ics be­ing un­able to re­main in ed­u­ca­tion. It could also be that peo­ple with poorly-con­trolled symp­toms are less in­clined to en­ter cer­tain oc­cu­pa­tions, es­pe­cially those re­quir­ing stamina, or jobs where they might be ex­posed to pos­si­ble asthma trig­gers, such as dust or va­pors.”

Schyllert and his col­leagues will con­tinue study­ing the link be­tween asthma and so­cioe­co­nomic sta­tus. He hoped to fol­low up the same group in an­other ten years, when the sub­jects will be 35 years old. He would also like to study a sim­i­lar co­hort born ten years later, to see if there have been any changes over time.

He added: “Although asthma can be ef­fec­tively treated with in­haled med­i­ca­tions, such as cor­ti­cos­teroids and bron­chodila­tors, stick­ing to a treat­ment

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