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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Common causes of dyspnoea in athletes

This article published in the European Respiratory Society’s June issue of Breathe explains how dyspnoea, (shortness of breath or breathlessness), during exercise is a common complaint in seemingly otherwise healthy athletes, and which may be associated with fatigue and underperformance. As dyspnoea may be caused by numerous factors, from poor aerobic fitness to serious, potentially fatal respiratory and nonrespiratory pathologies, the article explains why it is important for clinicians to obtain an appropriate case history and ask relevant exercise-specific questions to fully characterise the nature of the complaint so that a targeted diagnostic plan can be developed for the athlete. The article looks into asthma and exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, and exercise-induced laryngeal obstruction and vocal cord dysfunction, the most common treatments for which have included diaphragmatic breathing control. Even for those athletes experiencing expiratory flow limitation it is suggested that this could be overcome through controlled breathing methods or respiratory muscle training.

POWERbreathe respiratory muscle training (RMT) strengthens the breathing muscles, improving their stamina and reducing fatigue. POWERbreathe RMT has been clinically proven to reduce dyspnoea during exercise and daily activities, as well as improving exercise tolerance and quality of life particularly in patients with COPD (see References below.).

Read the full, free article in Breathe: Common causes of dyspnoea in athletes: a practical approach for diagnosis and management References:

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