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What Famous Athletes Have Asthma

Nonpharmacologic Treatment For Asthma

Why Do So Many Pro Cyclists Have Asthma?

Athletes with asthma need to keep their asthma under optimal control to prevent exercise-induced breathing symptoms. Masks and nose breathing help to warm and moisturize inhaled air before it reaches the smaller airways. This may decrease the inflammatory reaction in the airways and thus decrease the frequency and intensity of EIA. These maneuvers are effective for some but not all athletes. Nose breathing is not effective at high ventilation rates. Limiting environmental exposures may decrease symptoms in susceptible athletes; however, this may not be practical in some sports.

Theoretically, exercise training might decrease symptoms by conditioning the body to exercise, but research has not supported this theory. Nevertheless, an asthmatic individual should participate in exercise programs tailored to his or her capacity to perform.

A refractory period can occur after exercise, when the airway response to exercise is inhibited for up to 2 to 3 hours. Some athletes have taken advantage of this phenomenon to help control EIA. However, there are no specific guidelines to follow, and each athlete must experiment to determine the best individual protocol.

Smoking Doesnt Affect Asthma

This is a Myth! Smoking can trigger asthma attacks as cigarette smoke contains many irritants.

Indeed smoke from nearby smokers and smoke residue from surfaces are also harmful.

We hope you enjoyed our quiz and found this illuminating. Many are often confused about asthma. Hence, we hope you can share our quiz and this article with friends and family so that everyone can be better informed!


Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Avoiding Tobacco Smoke Is a Key Part of Asthma Prevention. . Electronic.

Asthma UK. Emotions. . Electronic.

Holland, Kimberly, Santoro, Elizabeth. Accomplished Athletes Who Have Asthma. . Electronic.

Li, James T. C. Do some children outgrow asthma? . Electronic.

MacKay, Kerri. Asthma and Exercise: Elite Athletes with Asthma: Anti-Doping and Fair Play. . Electronic.

MacMillan, Amanda. Olympic Swimmer Discusses Life With Exercise-Induced Asthma. . Electronic.

NHS Inform. Asthma. . Electronic.

What To Do If You Think Exercise Is A Trigger For Your Asthma:

  • Always make sure you use your reliever inhaler immediately before warming up.
  • Always make you sure you have your reliever inhaler with you and that it is easily accessible during exercise.
  • Always begin with warm-up exercises for 15-20 mins.
  • Make sure that the people you are exercising with know you have asthma.
  • Avoid other triggers if possible eg. Pollen, air pollution.
  • Make sure you warm down after exercise.
  • Ensure that you are taking all your medication as prescribed by your doctor, especially your controller medication which reduces the chances of an attack occurring.

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How Can Sports Help People With Asthma

Even if you don’t want to be a professional athlete, you benefit from exercising and playing sports. Sports keep you fit. They help you to stay at a healthy weight. Exercise also strengthens the breathing muscles in your chest. If you have asthma, this is very important because it can help your lungs work better.

Sports have great emotional benefits too: Exercising causes the body to produce endorphins, body chemicals that can help people;feel more peaceful and happy. Exercise helps some people sleep better. It can even help depression because people who feel strong and powerful can see themselves in a better light.

Why Do So Many Elite Athletes Have Asthma

Can an asthmatic play football?

Simon Yates tested positive for asthma medication, while studies found a third of Team Skys riders and 70% of the top British swimmers have the condition

The idea of a supremely fit professional cyclist like Simon Yates having to occasionally reach for an inhaler to ward off a wheeze might seem anomalous. But asthma is surprisingly common among some elite athletes.

A handful have classic asthma, the usually allergy-triggered constriction of the bronchial tubes that tends to begin in childhood.

Much more common in sport is exercise-induced asthma, or EIA, in which rapid and heavy breathing causes the same symptoms. The effect can be exacerbated by atmospheric conditions, which means some sportspeople tend to suffer more than others.

John Dickinson from Kent Universitys school of sport & exercise sciences, a world expert on asthma in sport, tested all 33 UK-based members of the British swimming squad and found 70% had some form of asthma, against a national asthma rate of about 8% to 10%. It is believed the chlorinated atmosphere of a pool could be a factor in this.

Cycling is another sport where EIA is common Dickinsons test on cyclists from Team Sky found a third have the condition. Rapid inhalation of cold, dry air has been identified as a trigger of EIA. Around half of elite cross-country skiers have the condition, as does Paula Radcliffe.

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Can Asthma Give Athletes An Advantage In Competition

In the 2008 Beijing Games, 17 percent of cyclists and 19 percent of swimmers had asthma. They captured 29 and 33 percent of the medals in those sports, respectively.

When elite athletes with asthma appear to perform better than athletes without asthma, it is sometimes referred to as the asthma advantage.

How is this possible? A rigorous warm-up generates a refractory period in which the airways are primed to stave off an asthma flare during exercise. Athletes with asthma essentially become protected from asthma symptoms, Dr. Olin says.

As a result, these athletes who typically train intensely for long periods of time are able to compete at their highest level.

What is not known is how these athletes perform at a higher level than their non-asthmatic counterparts.

How Do Elite Athletes Manage Asthma

Asthma treatment is the same for elite athletes as it is for those who play sports for recreation or to stay in shape, Dr. Olin says.

  • See a board-certified allergist or pulmonologist for a complete diagnosis. Work together to develop an Asthma Action Plan that can detail steps to take before, during and after exercise and what to do if symptoms worsen.
  • If you are diagnosed with asthma and exercise is a trigger, your allergist may prescribe an inhaled corticosteroid to take daily. This will help calm inflamed airways and prevent asthma symptoms. Those diagnosed with EIA may not need a daily controller medication.
  • Use a prescribed quick-relief albuterol inhaler15-30 minutes before exercise and if symptoms arise during or after exercise.
  • Warm up 15-20 minutes before competition or exercise. This can reduce the chances of airway constriction during exercise.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Cool down after exercise by slowly walking and stretching for several minutes.
  • If you exercise outdoors, check local air quality reports online. Air pollution may be an asthma trigger for runners, cyclists and other athletes.

Studies show regular exercise can actually help people with asthma improve breathing. It can also reduce stress and anxiety that can trigger flares.

Some sports are better than others for people with asthma. Sports that require short bursts of activity are less likely to trigger asthma. These sports include volleyball, gymnastics, baseball, golf and track and field.

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Are Asthma Medications Prohibited At The Olympics

In order for Olympic athletes with asthma to manage their condition during and out of competition, they first have to make sure their medications are approved. If the medications are prohibited, they are required to get what is known as a TUE a therapeutic-use exemption.

Former U.S. Olympic swimmer Tom Dolan was limited in what asthma medications he could take due to the doping regulations during the 1996 and 2000 Games. When new and better asthma drugs came on the market, he wasnt able to take advantage of them because the Olympic governing bodies had to test them before they could be approved for athletes.

Dolan noted the process today is more efficient. There is a much greater understanding now than when I swam as to what exactly inhalers do, he says.

Heres a look at certain asthma medications and whether they are approved for use in Olympic competition:

Emotions Do Not Affect Asthma

Asthma Treatment Medical Course

This is a Myth! On the contrary, asthma can be triggered by emotions ranging from, love to anger. Such emotions could cause rapid breathing or breathing through the mouth.

In turn, this may introduce cold air into the airways and trigger asthma symptoms.

For instance, laughing and crying may trigger asthma at times.

Therefore, children who get easily excited or have strong emotions are more likely to face asthma attacks.

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Asthma And Exercise: Elite Athletes With Asthma: Anti

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Asthma doesnt have to stop you from competing in sports at an elite level. While statistics are variable within sports, and competition years , in 2004, 4.6% of athletes competing in the Summer Olympics in Athens were identified as having asthma via their applications to anti-doping authorities to use inhaled bronchodilators during the Gamesat the Winter Olympics two years later, 8.3% of athletes applied, indicating a higher rate of asthma treated via bronchodilators.1 Research has indicated that competitions taking place in cold, dry air, as well as in high-altitude conditions, like skiing and snowboarding, tend to be a more common precursor to developing exercise-induced asthma symptoms.2

So, dont worry: there are no connections between your asthma meds and the illegal anabolic steroids that are often used illegally in competitionmost notably in, but certainly not limited to the sports of cycling and bodybuilding. However, that doesnt mean athletes with asthma are in the clear when competing.

Heres a synopsis of the process athletes with medical conditions, like asthma, should consider when competingeven if youre not at an elite level , your local sport organization mayand shouldhave anti-doping regulations in place, that keep sport fair and fun for everyone: learn what they are. At an elite level, the protocol is as follows:

Inhaled Steroids Not prohibited. 5

Leukotriene Receptor Antagonists Not prohibited.

Avoiding Exercise Because Of Asthma

But what if we could replace that picture of someone struggling to catch their breath with the image of someone in peak condition?

Emmitt Smith winning the Super Bowl with the Dallas Cowboys.

Kristi Yamaguchi scoring the gold medal at the Olympics.

Dennis Rodman leading the Chicago Bulls to victory in the NBA Finals.

Not only do all of these star athletes have asthma, all of them learned to control their condition in order to become world-class professionals. And theyre not alone.

In fact, nearly 20% of all U.S. Olympic athletes at the 1996 Atlanta games had asthma . And a thorough study done of the past five Olympics found that asthma was among the most common chronic conditions with 8% of all athletes reporting either asthma or airway hyper-responsiveness.

For some famous athletes, such as gold-medalist swimmer Amy Van Dyken, sports provided a way for her to train her lungs and learn to control her breathing.

If you have asthma, the idea of picking up a sport or even starting to exercise more regularly can be daunting. But dont like asthma stop you! By talking to your doctor, you can develop a long-term care plan that allows you to pursue physical activity without fear of an asthmatic attack.

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Corticosteroids Will Stunt A Childs Growth

This is a Myth! Generally, asthmatic kids are given corticosteroids to reduce wheezing and coughing. In the past, studies found that long-term use of these medicines could reduce a childs height by half an inch in the first year.

However, today, research shows this effect to be temporary.

In fact, based on studies in the United States and Denmark, this effect should fade by the time kids reach adulthood. Furthermore, children are likely to reach normal heights.

Currently, this effect is yet to be studied in depth. Nonetheless, Claude Lenfant, a former director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, agrees that the benefits of corticosteroids far outweigh the small initial impact on height.

Olympic Medals Athletes With Asthma Are Among The Top Recipients

Can asthma sufferers exercise?
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Further reason to not let asthma sideline you from goals to reach the peak of performance in your sport, or to keep anybody from participating in sport or physical activitycompetitively or non-competitively. The World Anti-Doping Agency, who is in charge of ensuring sport is fair, clean, and safe by testing athletes for banned substances in competition and dealing with Therapeutic Use Exemptions , recently shared some interesting data: athletes with asthma have consistently outperformed athletes without asthma, and have earned a higher number of Olympic medals.1

With the Olympic and Paralympic Games recently concluded, I read this and immediately thought Suck it, asthma! Not only can people with asthma be strong competitorsthe strongest competitorswe now have an interesting set of data as more solid proof of this fact. 2016 research by ;Ken Fitch2, includes this graph that I found interesting, comparing the percentage of athletes with asthma at the Sydney 2000 , Salt Lake City 2002 , Athens 2004 , Torino 2006 and Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, and the percentage of overall medals won. In the case of Winter sport competition specifically, a higher proportion among the group of athletes with asthma were medalists. Note, of course, that this applies for individual rather than team sports.

Graph source: Ken Fitch/World Anti Doping Agency 20162

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The Severity Of Asthma Varies From Person To Person

This is a Fact! Asthma can affect people in different ways. Essentially, asthma can be grouped into four categories:

1) Mild intermittent asthma

For this case, asthma symptoms appear at most twice a week. Meanwhile, at night, symptoms occur up to twice every month.

Typically, daily medication isnt required and one can solely rely on rescue inhalers.

2) Mild persistent asthma

As for this category, symptoms occur more than twice a week, but no more than once a day. In such cases, inhalers might be prescribed for daily use.

3) Moderate persistent asthma

With regards to this group, symptoms appear once a day and more than one night a week. Understandably, higher dosages of inhalers and additional medication may be required. For kids over 5 years old, oral medicines may be prescribed as well.

4) Severe persistent asthma

Lastly, for this group, symptoms occur throughout most days and nights. Often a combination of different treatments and dosages might be needed to see what works best.

Which Sports Are Best For People With Asthma

Some sports and activities can be better choices;for people with asthma. Golf, yoga, and gentle biking;are less likely to trigger asthma flare-ups. Sports like baseball, football, gymnastics, and shorter track and field events can be good choices too.

Some sports may be more challenging for people with asthma. These include endurance sports like long-distance running or cycling or sports that demand a lot of energy without a lot of rest time . Cold-weather sports like cross-country skiing or ice hockey also can be difficult.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t do these sports if you truly enjoy them. Many athletes with asthma have found that with proper training and the right dose and use of medicine, they can play any sport they want.

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Beckham And Other Sporting Asthmatics


  • David Beckham was pictured taking his asthma inhaler during LA Galaxy’s MLS Cup loss to Real Salt Lake
  • Asthma can cause wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing, making exercise difficult
  • High-profile athletes like Paul Scholes, Justine Henin and Dennis Rodman are all asthmatics


— After being photographed using an inhaler prior to extra-time in his MLS Cup Final, the news that David Beckham has been an asthma sufferer since childhood has propelled the condition into the limelight.

The England midfielder is not the first high-profile athlete to have dealt with asthma, a respiratory condition that affects people’s airways — the small tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs.

Despite the difficulties of performing with asthmatic symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing, many athletes have dealt still managed to reach the peak of their respective disciplines.

NBA star Dennis Rodman, footballer Frank Lampard and Olympic swimmers Nancy Hogsehead and Mark Spitz have all suffered from the condition, here are five more of sport’s most high-profile asthmatics.

1. Paul Scholes

2. Justine Henin

3. Jerome Bettis

4. Paula Radcliffe

5. Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Olympic Swimmer Discusses Life With Exercise

How does asthma work? – Christopher E. Gaw

SWIMSTARS.ORGHow’s this for strange headline of the week? Sweating during intense exercise may protect the body against asthma, suggests a new study. The connection between sweat glands and lungs seems nonexistent at first, but researchers from the Naval Medical Center in San Diego say that athletes who sweat the least and produce the least amount of saliva may have drier airwaysa trigger for lung inflammation and asthma attacks.

If you have asthma or have ever experienced symptoms of exercise-related breathing difficulties, this news may be interestingbut not exactly helpful. You can’t very well control how much you sweat, after all. But the study results do support what doctors already believe: Keeping airways moist while you’re working out may help reduce your risk. Here are a few strategies to try.

  • Stay hydrated and avoid dehydration during workouts.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a loose scarf during cold weather.
  • Exercise in a warm, humidified environment, if possible.

How an athlete copes with asthmaI recently had the chance to meet Olympic gold medalist Peter Vanderkaay; he swam anchor in this year’s 4×200 freestyle relay with Michael Phelps, and won an individual bronze as well. Vanderkaay has been swimming competitively since age 7but around age 10 he began to experience asthma symptoms when he was in the pool or playing outside at recess.

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