Are athletes more susceptible to airway dysfunction?

The Study

Environmental influence on the prevalence and pattern of airway dysfunction in elite athletes‘. The purpose of this study recently published in ‘Respirology’ was to evaluate the prevalence of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB), often known as exercise-induced asthma, in elite Great British (GB) boxers and swimmers. This study was the first to screen the entire elite Great British (GB) Swimming and Boxing teams using a eucapnic voluntary hyperpnoea (EVH) challenge. Findings from the study support the notion that athletes who train and compete in provocative environments at sustained high ventilation have an increased susceptibility to airway dysfunction. Conclusion: “The prevalence of EIB was ninefold greater in swimmers when compared with boxers. Athletes who train and compete in provocative environments at sustained high ventilation may have an increased susceptibility to EIB. It is not entirely clear whether increased susceptibility to EIB affects elite sporting performance and long-term airway health in elite athletes.” In scientific tests, Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) has been shown to decrease dyspnea, increase inspiratory muscle strength, and improve exercise capacity in asthmatic individuals. POWERbreathe IMT is scientifically proven, effective, low-cost and a drug-free adjunct to traditional asthma treatments and can be used as part of an athlete’s daily training to reduce symptoms. Supportive Study Effect of Inspiratory Muscle Training on Exercise Tolerance in Asthmatic Individuals concluded that, “IMT attenuates inspiratory muscle fatigue, reduces the perception of dyspnea, and increases exercise tolerance. These findings suggest that IMT may be a helpful adjunct to asthma management that has the potential to improve participation and adherence to exercise training in this group.”

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BASES Expert Statement on Assessment and Management of Non-asthma Related Breathing Problems in Athletes

Produced on behalf of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES), Dr John Dickinson, Professor McConnell, Dr Emma Ross, Dr Peter Brown and Dr James Hull discuss the assessment and management of non-asthma related breathing problems reported by athletes, such as wheezing, tight chest, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, coughing and breathlessness.

Read BASES Expert Statement on Assessment and Management of Non-asthma Related Breathing Problems in Athletes >

Inspiratory Muscle Training: A Simple Cost-Effective Treatment For Inspiratory Stridor

“This case study describes the support given to a British elite athlete in the build up to the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. The athlete had complained of breathing symptoms during high intensity training that led to a reduction in performance and premature cessation of training… Inspiratory muscle training (IMT) was implemented to attenuate the inspiratory stridor.”

Result:

“Following an 11-week Inspiratory Muscle Training programme, the athlete had a 31% increase in mouth inspiratory pressure and a reduction in recovery between high intensity sprints. The athlete reported a precipitous fall in symptoms and was able to complete high intensity training without symptoms. This case shows that IMT is a suitable cost-effective intervention for athletes who present with inspiratory stridor.”

Read Inspiratory muscle training: a simple cost-effective treatment for inspiratory stridor >