Study: Respiratory Disease in Early Life Heightens Morbidity and Mortality in Adulthood

In a study published in the February 14th on-line edition of the journal Thorax, researchers investigated morbidity, and respiratory and cause-specific mortality among people who reported a medical history of bronchitis, pneumonia, and asthma early in life. In a historical cohort study of men, medical history of respiratory diseases, including bronchitis, pneumonia, and asthma, along with other disease risk factors and socioeconomic conditions was obtained. A subsample responded to a follow-up questionnaire. The results showed that medical history of a respiratory disease (bronchitis, pneumonia, and asthma) in early life was associated with a 57% higher risk of overall respiratory disease mortality in adulthood and a more than 2-fold increase in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease mortality. In addition, respiratory disease in early life was also associated with a higher risk in adulthood of doctor’s diagonosis of asthma. The authors concluded that an early life history of respiratory diseases is associated with higher mortality and morbidity risk in adulthood in men and that all early life respiratory diseases appeared to be negatively associated with later adult respiratory health.

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