Study findings due to be published in the September issue of the Journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise were released yesterday. The study revealed that in a group of college athletes studied at Ohio State University, exercise-induced asthma, or EIA for short, was often not identified, even when there were existing breathing problems.
This study was small (only 107 athletes), but 39 percent of the participants did have test results that suggested EIA, even though most of them had no previous history of asthma. Lending credence to this study was one done with Olympic athletes recently that had similar findings.
Exercise-induced asthma is a type of asthma where symptoms are triggered by activity or exercise. If you notice that you're coughing, wheezing, or have chest tightness when you exercise, you might have EIA. Or, even if you just feel extremely tired or winded when you exert yourself, EIA could be the culprit.
However, researchers stressed that having respiratory symptoms alone is not enough information to make a diagnosis of EIA. Your doctor should also do pulmonary function testing to confirm (or dispel) the diagnosis.
Considering that athletes are generally very focused on peak performance, I wonder why so many do not act on respiratory symptoms that can have a significant impact on that performance? Could be the old adage, "No pain, no gain" is at work. Or, even denial.
It's important to note, though, that asthma is almost always able to be treated successfully and effectively. There is no reason for an athlete to "put up with" asthma symptoms, when medication exists that can completely prevent them from occurring in the first place.
So, if you're an athlete, or your child is, and you're noticing possible asthma symptoms, talk with your doctor about getting tested for exercise-induced asthma. Your body will thank you.