Gender differences in dimensions of dyspnea in active young adults

RESEARCH:

Sex differences in the intensity and qualitative dimensions of exertional dyspnea in physically active young adults
Julia M. Cory, Michele R. Schaeffer, Sabrina S. Wilkie et al

The purpose of this study was to explore the development of qualitative dimensions of dyspnea in a group of 70 physically active, healthy young adults.

The young participants were asked to record two things throughout each stage of a symptom limited incremental cycle exercise test:

1. Intensity of their breathing discomfort using the Borg 0-10 scale.
2. Select a phrase that best described their breathing from a standardized list ("work/effort", "unsatisfied inspiration", "unsatisfied expiration”).

During the study, at peak exercise women were significantly more likely to select the phrases: "my breathing feels shallow", "I cannot get enough air in", "I cannot take a deep breath in", and "my breath does not go in all the way".

Findings from the study suggested that men and women do not differ in their perceived quality of dyspnea during submaximal exercise, but subjective differences appear at maximal exercise and may be related, perhaps in part, to underlying differences in breathing patterns and operating lung volumes during exercise.

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