NURTURE INFORMATION HUB
Chronic Lung Disease also known as Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia
“Young adults born <28 weeks or <1000 g in the surfactant era, particularly those who had bronchopulmonary dysplasia, have substantially reduced airway function compared with controls. Some are destined to develop COPD in later adult life.”
Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD) or also known as ‘chronic neonatal lung disease’, is a type of lung disease mostly seen in premature babies (mainly babies born more than 10 weeks early). Many babies born early have immature lungs and may require mechanical ventilation to treat Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS) as well as needing prolonged oxygen therapy. RDS is closely linked to the development of BPD, though not all babies with RDS will develop BPD. Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is defined as the condition that occurs when babies are still requiring respiratory support and/or additional oxygen after reaching 36 weeks gestation. BPD may also be diagnosed if the respiratory problems continue beyond the premature baby’s actual due date.
Since the introduction of surfactant in the early 1990s to help treat Respiratory Distress Syndrome in babies, the outcomes for lung function have improved compared to the years before its introduction. Though the long-term effects of Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia are still not well known in adolescence who were diagnosed with it during infancy, some may experience some level of lung dysfunction. Some research has reported a reduction of expiratory airflow in late adolescent. Due to the ongoing risk of potential lung issues, it is important that the adolescent who was born premature and with BPD is monitored regularly.
As your child enters the teenage years it is important that they take an active role in their wellbeing and ensure that they have a healthy lifestyle. Parents are no longer their only role model and their peers take on a more active role and influence, therefore it is crucial that they make good choices. Challenges such as cigarette smoking may present themselves and this should be strongly discouraged for any young person, especially someone with a history of chronic lung disease. Vaping (the act of inhaling vapor produced by a vaporizer or electronic cigarette) should also be avoided as the long-term effects are still unknown.