What is asthma?

Asthma is the commonest long-term disease affecting children. Many children with asthma already have problems with episodes of wheezing by the time they are two or three years old. It is important for doctors to understand how lungs develop in the first few years of life, not least because in those crucial years, any lung damage is permanent. At the moment we do not understand this nor why some children start to wheeze or develop asthma. Even though we know at least a third of babies will develop wheeze before they start school.
The Breathing Together Study is exploring, in a completely new way, why some children develop wheezing and breathlessness during their preschool years, and why some of those grow out of their symptoms, while others go on to develop asthma.

  • Asthma affects approximately 1 in 11 children in the UK, but we do not have a cure
  • Many children who get asthma start to have symptoms (wheezing) before they are old enough to go to school, but we cannot predict which young children who wheeze will develop asthma and who will get better
  • The children who get asthma have early lung damage which never gets any better however long they live