Question:How does low birth weight affect my risk of developing asthma?
Answer: There are many studies investigating factors that impact the development of asthma, including genetic factors, environmental, nutritional and early life influences such as low birth weight and prematurity. As you can imagine, it may be difficult to tease out the impact of one factor when so many things can influence the development of a disease.
To date, studies show that wheezing in early childhood is more likely to occur in low birth weight and premature infants, which is thought to be due to their smaller airways.
However, this is not always a sustained effect in that many of these infants. As they grow, they do not often have persistent asthma. Premature infants born with lung disease of prematurity, however, are more likely to have persistent obstructive lung disease.
Other factors that are known to increase the likelihood of developing persistent asthma are having a mother with asthma, exposure to tobacco smoke and having other allergic disorders such as atopic dermatitis, nasal allergies and food allergy.