New Research Finds Boys With Asthma At Higher Risk Of Bone Fractures

The world's largest study of its kind has found boys with asthma are more likely to break their bones than girls well known the lung disease.

The study of more than 16,000 Victorian primary school students aged from three to fourteen, the world's largest of its kind, found boys with moderately severe asthma were 30 per cent more likely to fracture a bone opposed to those without the lung disease. However the same association was not found in girls.

The researchers suggest girls with asthma may have fewer fractures due to faster maturing bodies, as girls enter puberty at a younger age than boys. Differences in risk-taking behaviors between boys and girls at certain ages could also be a contributing factor.

Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health published study, also found the use of inhaled corticosteroids - the medication commonly taken to treat asthma - did not influence the association between asthma and increased risk of fractures in boys.

Lead researcher, Dr Sharon Brennan-Olsen at the University of Melbourne says the findings highlight the importance of promoting good bone health among young asthmatics. An estimated one in seven children have asthma, a long-term respiratory condition caused by hypersensitivity and inflammation of the airways.

Dr Brennan-Olsen, who is also a researcher at the Australian Institute for Musculoskeletal Science, said the underlying disease process may influence bone development in children.

"Because asthma is an inflammatory disease it can lead to bone loss by interfering with the mechanisms in the bone formation and resorption," she explained.

For parents of boys with asthma specifically, Dr Brennan-Olsen says unfortunately there is not much they can do except be aware of the increased risk of fracture.

Abstaining from physical activity is not recommended for children with asthma. The recommendations are to remain physically active because it's not only good for the bone health but also good for the asthma!