Archive for January, 2012

Antibiotic Use In Infancy And The Risk Of Asthma

January 9, 2012

A recent study of 193,412 children from 29 countries reported that children who received antibiotics in the first year of life had an increased risk of having asthma symptoms at 6 to 7 years of age.  The odds ratio for asthma in children who received antibiotics compared to children who did not receive antibiotics in the first year of life was 1.7-1.96.  It is unclear whether this association and increased risk is based upon cause and effect or reverse causation.  In other words, is this the result of the direct effect of antibiotics on the complex balance of the more than 500 species of microbes in the body and a subsequent impact on atopy (allergy) and asthma?  Or, were children who were predisposed to asthma or had early symptoms of asthma, more likely to be given antibiotics in the first year of life because of respiratory symptoms thought to be related to infection?  In any case, the association seems to be real and is definitely of interest.

Note: The content of this blog is for informational purposes only and is not meant as specific medical advice for a specific person.   If you have a medical problem, please contact your doctor.

Asthma and Exercise

January 7, 2012

It is essential for children and adults with asthma to exercise.  Asthma that is not well controlled from an inflammatory perspective will tend to cause symptoms with exercise, particularly aerobic exercise.  The answer is NOT to avoid exercise, it is to get the inflammation under control and continue exercising as if you did not have asthma.

The health benefits of exercise for people with asthma are numerous including improved fitness level, improved quality of life, reduction in the need for medications, fewer emergency room visits and less absenteeism from school (J Allergy Clin Immunol 2005;115:928-34).   On top of that, it is important that children with asthma do not perceive themselves, or are not perceived by others, as being different or in some way disabled.  A sure fired way of having a child feel different is by creating a situation where the child needs to avoid regular play, sports and other exercise.   This may not only result in psychological problems, but may contribute to a tendency for weight gain and obesity.

The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Thoracic Society both recommend exercise for patients with asthma.   In general, most studies show exercising 3-5 times a week for at least 20-30 minutes while reaching 60-75% of age predicted maximal heart rate is helpful in maintaining and improving pulmonary health in asthmatics.  This kind of goal works for adults.  For children, the goal should be to engage in play and sports in the same way as children without asthma.

Note: The content of this blog is for informational purposes only and is not meant as specific medical advice for a specific person.   If you have a medical problem, please contact your doctor.