Research Article

Asthma from childhood at age 21: the patient and his disease.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982; 284 doi: (Published 06 February 1982) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982;284:380
  1. A J Martin,
  2. L I Landau,
  3. P D Phelan


    Information was obtained from 336 21-year-olds who had begun wheezing before the age of 7 about their knowledge of asthma and its effect on their current life style. Two-thirds of the subjects were still symptomatic. A control group of 62 subjects was available for comparison. Knowledge about asthma was poor, particularly among those with less troublesome symptoms. Half of those with frequent episodic asthma and one-third with persistent asthma did not regard excess use of bronchodilator aerosols as potentially dangerous. Over three-quarters of those with persistent asthma were not receiving adequate treatment. One-third of third of those with persistent asthma were missing substantial time from work because of respiratory illness, and a similar proportion were restricting sporting activities. The incidence of smoking was disturbingly high in all asthma groups. The higher the number of cigarettes ever smoked and the higher the current tobacco consumption the less satisfactory was the progress of asthma. Both cigarette smoking and severity of asthma contributed to chronic production of sputum. Children and teenagers with asthma should be educated to seek more appropriate medical help and thereby reduce morbidity.