Lungs Age Faster for Premature Babies
Premature infants are at greater risk of contracting Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD), a chronic respiratory condition that mainly affects infants born less than 28 weeks of age. However, infants born prematurely are at risk for many other respiratory conditions that can cause problems as they age.
Why does this happen?
Respiratory conditions primarily affect preterm infants who need oxygen therapy to breathe after birth. This occurs because pressure from the oxygen ventilator used for treatment can scar lung tissue. The higher the oxygen level needed leads to greater pressure, which has the potential for permanent scarring to premature lung tissue.
The University of Oregon, partnered with Ohio University, conducted a study where they looked at three groups: 20 adults born prematurely with BPD, 15 adults born prematurely without BPD,and 20 adults without BPD born full-term. The purpose was to examine lung function during exercise.
The results were anything but surprising. According to Andrew T. Lovering, a human physiology professor at the University of Oregon, the 20 adults with BPD had poor exercise capacity and early fatigue during the study.