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Smoking, Other Factors Increase Adult Asthma Risk

Past asthma problems forecast episodes in younger people

TUESDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking, ethnicity and other issues increase the risk of asthma episodes in people over age 10, but only a track-record of asthma predicts episodes in younger people, researchers report in the December issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Karen McCoy, M.D., the Ohio State University in Columbus, and colleagues compared data on asthma episodes involving 2,032 asthmatics aged 3 to 64 years after receiving flu vaccination or a placebo.

The researchers found that 43.2 percent of participants had one or more asthma episodes in 28 days. Almost 15 percent needed systemic corticosteroids and/or impromptu health appointments; most used more rescue medication or had a reduced peak flow.

Children under age 10 experienced the most episodes. Symptom surveys forecast problems the best. Surveys about the previous two weeks were as effective as more elaborate surveys. Although smoking, African American ethnicity, a severe asthma history and poorly functioning lungs were linked to asthma problems in those over 10, only asthma history forecast episodes in younger people.

"Symptom questionnaires are predictive of subsequent asthma episodes in people older than age 10 years, but not in younger people," the authors conclude.

Some of the study authors have received grant support from pharmaceutical companies.

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