Researchers on Monday reported that children with some common allergies, such as a sensitivity to house dust mites, and those with poor lung function, seem to be more likely to redevelop asthma as adults.
"While we cannot definitively explain why some individuals experience asthma relapse and others do not, we found that persistence of asthma and asthma relapse are significantly increased in children with house dust mite sensitivity," said study leader Malcolm Sears of McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada.
"This is likely due to persistent inflammation and genetic factors," Sears added in a statement.
Sears and colleagues studied more than 1000 children born in New Zealand between 1972 and 1973, testing them at ages 9, 11, 13, 15, 18, 21 and 26.
About 20% of them had asthma diagnosed by a doctor at some point in childhood, and of these, 38% were free of symptoms by the age of 18, the researchers found.
But by the age of 26, 35% said their symptoms had come back.
The patients who relapsed more often had allergies to house dust mites, grass, cats, dogs, and mould, the researchers said.
"By not smoking and avoiding occupations that increase the likelihood of developing asthma, patients can help protect themselves from asthma relapse," Sears said.
"This study demonstrates the role that specific risk factors have on asthma remission," added Dr Paul Kvale, president of the American College of Chest Physicians.