Breastfeeding Could Reduce Asthma Symptoms in Infants
If you’re a parent or know a mother with a child with asthma, you know it can be a scary thing. It’s estimated that asthma affects just under nine percent of U.S. children and adolescents. Good news on that front — a 2016 study found that breastfeeding lowers the likelihood of infants with a genetic disposition to asthma to experience symptoms.
Since obstetrics is a big part of our Women’s Health Medical Group practice, we thought we’d share this study with you.
The bane of asthma
Asthma is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases. Its symptoms are the same in children as adults: breathing problems, wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness. But because children have smaller airways to overcome the breathing deficiencies, the symptoms can be more severe. This explains why asthma is the third leading cause of hospital stays and missed school days for U.S. children.
Asthma is thought to be caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Researchers have associated certain gene variations with an increased risk of childhood asthma. And when you combine environmental factors with the genetic likelihood, these children were more likely to experience asthma symptoms.
Study shows breastfeeding lessens symptoms
The University of Basel, Switzerland sought to study if breastfeeding had any impact on protecting genetically at-risk asthma children. They used 368 infants with the specific gene variation that made them far more likely to develop asthma symptoms.
The findings showed that there was a significant link. Those at-risk children who were breast-fed were found to have a 27% lower risk of developing asthma’s respiratory symptoms. On the specific weeks these children were not breast-fed, their respiratory symptoms were more likely to arise.
The team leader on the study, Dr. Olga Gorlanova of the University of Basel, said their study was the first to show that breastfeeding can alter the effect of gene variants known to raise the risk of asthma in infants.
At Women’s Health Medical Group, we’re big fans of breastfeeding for the health of your infant. This study simply reinforces that belief. If you have any questions about your pregnancy or upcoming childbirth, please call us at (817) 346-5336.