Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Asthma is the most common chronic disease among Olympic athletes

Date:
July 31, 2012
Source:
Plataforma SINC
Summary:
Based on data from the last five Olympic games, a study has identified those athletes with asthma and airway hyper-responsiveness. With a prevalence of around 8% they are the most common chronic conditions among Olympic athletes, and could be related to intense training.

Athletes who take part in endurance sports suffer more from asthma and airway hyper-responsiveness.
Credit: Image courtesy of Plataforma SINC

Based on data from the last five Olympic games, a study by the University of Western Australia has identified those athletes with asthma and airway hyper-responsiveness. With a prevalence of around 8% they are the most common chronic conditions among Olympic athletes, and could be related to intense training.

In summer and winter sports there is widespread suffering from asthma and airway hyper-responsiveness (AHR) among athletes who take part in endurance sports. Its relatively late onset in many older athletes suggests to the experts that the years of intense training could be one of the causes.

"Inhaling polluted or cold air is considered an important factor which might explain the cause in some sports, but not in all," explained Kenneth D. Fitch, researcher at the University of Western Australia and sole author of the study.

The author identified those athletes with documented asthma and AHR from among those who during the last five Olympic games -from 2002 to 2010- used inhaled beta-2 agonists (IBA), a drug frequently used by elite athletes as an anti-asthma treatment.

The results, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, show a prevalence of around 8%, which makes these chronic conditions the most common among Olympic athletes.

In fact, due to a significant increase in the number of Olympic competitors reporting the use of IBA between 1996 and 2000, in 2001 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided that athletes must justify their use by providing proof of the condition. The decision was not an anti-doping measure, but was taken to protect the health of athletes.

Summer sports vs winter sports

"The quality of inhaled air could be harmful to the airways, but does not cause the same effect in all sports," highlights Fitch. For example, in the summer Olympics the prevalence of asthma and AHR is much greater in those who practise endurance sports.

According to the study, if there are many more asthmatic winter athletes compared with summer athletes it is mainly because in summer competition there are less individual medals in endurance sports.

For its part, during the winter games the inhalation of cold air contributes to airway damage. It also occurs inside skating rinks, where particles in suspension from the ice resurfacing machines can cause damage.

Why do athletes with asthma beat their rivals?

Those athletes with asthma and AHR have continually beaten their colleagues, although there is no scientific evidence that the treatments provided improve performance. Genetic aspects could be a key factor in airway damage suffered by athletes, but this hypothesis needs further corroboration.

The Australian researcher wonders whether training harder than the other competitors in order to improve results could be the reason why many athletes develop asthma and AHR during adult life. The experts even question whether the physiological changes associated with asthma represent a stimulus to train not experienced by non-asthmatics.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Plataforma SINC. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. K. D. Fitch. An overview of asthma and airway hyper-responsiveness in Olympic athletes. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2012; 46 (6): 413 DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2011-090814

Cite This Page:

Plataforma SINC. "Asthma is the most common chronic disease among Olympic athletes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120731094613.htm>.
Plataforma SINC. (2012, July 31). Asthma is the most common chronic disease among Olympic athletes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120731094613.htm
Plataforma SINC. "Asthma is the most common chronic disease among Olympic athletes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120731094613.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins