I Have Asthma — Will My Children Have It Too?

Mar 15, 2024
I Have Asthma — Will My Children Have It Too?
Asthma is a chronic condition that impacts people of all ages. It also tends to run in families. However, that doesn’t guarantee your children will have it, even if you do. Read on to learn more about this complex lung condition.

Asthma is a leading chronic illness worldwide. So, it’s no secret people worry about passing it on to their children. And for good reason — it tends to run in families. 

But there’s more to asthma than meets the eye, and no one is born with the condition. However, genes can give children a predisposition for the disease.

At Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine in Algonquin, Illinois, our experts have the advanced tools and training to diagnose, manage, and treat chronic lung diseases. If you have asthma, here’s what you should know about this condition and its genetic links.

Asthma basics

There are different types of this pulmonary disorder, such as:

  • Allergic asthma
  • Nonallergic asthma
  • Exercise-induced bronchospasm
  • Occupational asthma
  • Adult-onset asthma
  • Asthma with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Each type of asthma can have a different trigger. However, all types cause the airways to narrow and swell, making it difficult to breathe

This response leads to the telltale signs of asthma, like shortness of breath, frequent coughing, and a whistling or wheezing sound while breathing.

Asthma symptoms range from mild to severe to even life-threatening. It’s common for many — but not all — types to have a genetic component.

Asthma and genetics

It’s true that asthma can run in families, but a child isn’t guaranteed to have it if a parent does. 

Instead, genetics only account for approximately 70% of a person’s risk. For example, two siblings have a genetic predisposition, but only one might end up with the condition.

Similarly, a person can get asthma without any genetic predisposition at all.

In reality, other factors come into play with asthma, especially those involving the environment.

Additional risk factors for asthma include:

  • Smoking or frequent exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having allergies or allergy-related conditions
  • Exposure to irritants or pollutants, like dust, chemicals, or exhaust fumes

Even a severe respiratory infection as a child can cause asthma to develop.

Managing asthma in children

If you have asthma, you can reduce your child’s chances of developing the condition by avoiding secondhand smoke and air pollution whenever possible.

However, you can also help your child live a full and happy life, even if they have asthma, with an effective management strategy.

Our experts can diagnose the cause and extent of their symptoms through diagnostic screenings, like pulmonary function tests and chest X-rays. They help us create a personalized treatment strategy tailored to your child’s needs.

Managing asthma in children often includes:

  • Diagnosing and treating allergies
  • Identifying and avoiding triggers
  • Using medications as directed
  • Watching for signs of asthma and worsening symptoms
  • Having an Asthma Action Plan 
  • Providing caregivers with emergency medication and instructions

It’s also essential to help your child maintain a healthy weight and get physical activity to encourage healthy lung function.

There may not be a cure for asthma, but it doesn’t have to limit your life — or your child’s. 

Contact Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine to schedule an asthma consultation today.