Effect of asthma on growth and puberty

Pediatrician. 1987;14(4):237-41.


It is now known that asthma has no direct influence on growth in height but is significantly associated with delay in the onset of puberty. The pre-adolescent physiological deceleration of growth velocity that occurs in these children gives the impression of growth retardation. Once puberty has finally begun, however, complete catch-up growth results in the attainment of the predicted adult height. A consequence of pubertal delay is increased emotional stress in an already unstable adolescent. This may adversely affect disease control and drug compliance. The main cause of growth retardation in the past was the long-term prophylactic use of oral corticosteroids. Since the advent of inhalation steroids, this has no longer been a problem.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / adverse effects
  • Age Factors
  • Asthma / complications*
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Asthma / psychology
  • Body Height
  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Growth Disorders / chemically induced
  • Growth Disorders / etiology*
  • Growth Disorders / psychology
  • Humans
  • Puberty, Delayed / etiology*
  • Puberty, Delayed / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / complications


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones