Tags: olympic | athlete | asthma

Study: 1 in 12 Olympians has Asthma

Wednesday, 01 Aug 2012 11:13 AM

They are among the world’s most perfect physical specimens. But more than 1 in 12 Olympic athletes also struggle with a chronic disease – asthma – according to a new study.
Researchers with the University of Western Australia who tracked athletes who competed in the last five summer and winter Olympic Games found asthma and airway hyper-responsiveness (AHR) to be the most common chronic disease among competitors – striking about 8 percent.
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The condition’s prevalence among the Olympic athletes suggests years of intense training – not environmental factors – is a likely factor, investigators said.
"Inhaling polluted or cold air is considered an important factor which might explain the cause in some sports, but not in all,” said researcher Kenneth D. Fitch, who led the study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
To reach his conclusions, Fitch identified athletes with documented asthma and AHR who used anti-asthma drugs known as inhaled beta-2 agonists during the five Olympic Games between 2002 and 2010. Due to a significant increase in the number of Olympic competitors reporting the use of such drugs between 1996 and 2000, Fitch noted, the International Olympic Committee decided in 2001 that athletes must justify their use by providing proof of the condition.
He also suggested one reason many athletes develop asthma and AHR during adult life is because they may train harder than other competitors in order to improve their performance.
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Asthma is the most common chronic disease in competitors, possibly from years of intense training.
Wednesday, 01 Aug 2012 11:13 AM
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