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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Laryngeal Movements During Inspiratory Muscle Training In Healthy Subjects

“Inspiratory muscle training (IMT) has been used to treat patients with exercise-induced vocal cord dysfunction (VCD); the theoretical basis being the close relationship between the diaphragm and the posterior cricoarytenoid muscle, which is the main abductor of the larynx. Before launching a treatment protocol in patients with VCD, we aimed to substantiate this theory by performing laryngoscopy in healthy subjects during standardized IMT programs.”

Conclusion:

“IMT can produce laryngeal abduction in healthy subjects, and training programs may conceivably contribute positively in patients suffering from laryngeal adduction during exercise. Individual response patterns varied between subjects and individualized programs seem crucial for effect. Use of high resistances seemed to be counterproductive.”

Therefore POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training:

  • May affect the intrinsic laryngeal muscles which control the action of the larynx

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