People who suffer from stubborn asthma at a young age are more likely to be back in college and have left school or university, as a study shows.

Research also suggests that as this group of children grows up, they are less likely to work in certain non-manual occupations such as police officers, clerks or foremen.

"Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases in children and we know that it can affect daily life and affect school attendance," said Christian Schyllert, a clinician at Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden.

"However, we know much less about the effects of childhood asthma on later life opportunities in adulthood," said Schyllert, a PhD student at Umea University in Sweden.

The investigation was based on children in three Swedish districts. In 1996, all children between the ages of seven and eight were invited to participate in the study and 97 percent agreed.

Participants were followed at ages 11-12, 19 and 27-28 years. By 2015, the researchers were still in contact with 2,291 (59 percent) of the participants.

At the beginning of the study and at each follow-up, the researchers determined if children had asthma. This meant that they had been diagnosed by a doctor and were suffering from wheezing or asthma medication for the past 12 months.

Children were assumed to have "early, persistent asthma" if they were first diagnosed before the age of 12 and still had asthma at the age of 19.

The researchers then compared this information with data about when children left school and which occupations they visited. They considered other factors such as gender, body weight and smoking that could affect education and work.

The analysis showed that children with early-onset persistent asthma are three and a half times more likely than children without asthma to leave school at the age of 16 with only primary education.

It was twice as common for them to drop out of college before completing three years of study.

In terms of their careers, infants with early onset stubborn asthma were less than half as likely to be non-manual occupations, including scribes, caregivers, police officers, musicians, and foremen.

"This study suggests that children diagnosed with asthma when they are young and continue to suffer when they grow up have worse life chances when it comes to their education and their future jobs," Schyllert said.



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