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Adult Asthma Differs From Childhood Asthma

Researchers say it may not even be the same disease

THURSDAY, Jan. 8, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- People who develop asthma as adults may have a different disease than those who develop asthma as children, says a study in the January issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

The study of 80 people with severe asthma also found the presence of inflammatory cells called eosinophils helps distinguish differences between asthma patients.

This new research adds to the growing body of evidence that, instead of single disease, asthma is a group of syndromes with different origins and biological characteristics. This information could lead to improvements in diagnosis and treatment of people with asthma.

"We found that patients whose asthma began in childhood were more frequently allergic than those whose asthma began as adults, while adult-onset asthma was associated with more rapid loss of lung function," research team leader Dr. Sally Wenzel, a pulmonologist at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center, says in a prepared statement.

"We were surprised to find that many patients showed no signs of inflammation, generally considered a hallmark of asthma, yet they still had severe airflow limitation and many asthma symptoms," Wenzel says.

This is the first time that researchers have combined biological data with detailed questionnaires to define subsets of asthma patients.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about asthma.

SOURCE: National Jewish Medical and Research Center, news release, Jan. 8, 2004
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