Effect of Asthma on Growth
January 28, 2004
A report published this month by Dr. I. J. Doull from the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff concludes that childhood asthma does not usually affect adult height.
There have been concerns about apparent growth failure both in untreated asthmatic children and in asthmatic children being treated with inhaled corticosteroids.
Dr. Doull found that untreated asthma results in a delay of the onset of puberty by about 1.3 years. This results in a delay of the growth spurt rather a failure to grow.
In children taking inhaled corticosteroids, there is growth suppression, but this effect is temporary and growth soon returns to normal rates.
In either case, asthma does not appear to significantly affect adult height. Dr. Doull reports that there may be an effect in severe asthmatics, but the reduction in adult height is unlikely to be more than 1.2 cm.
Dr. Doull concludes that inhaled corticosteroids “do not have significant long term effects on growth, and that their benefits consistently outweigh their side effects.”
Doull IJ, The effect of asthma and its treatment on growth
Arch Dis Child. 2004 Jan; 89(1): 60-3