Recently I’ve come across this startling headline:
A U.S. study discovered signs of exercise-induced asthma in more than one-third of college athletes assessed for breathing problems.
Researchers at Ohio State University Medical Center screened 107 Ohio State varsity athletes for exercise-induced asthma. Forty-two, or 39 percent, of the athletes tested positive, and 36 of those 42 athletes had no prior history of asthma, the study reported in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. (Exercise-induced asthma common in college)
EIA statistics among children and young adults is getting increasingly troublesome. PE teachers at school are taught regularly how to deal with Exercise Induced Asthma in children.
Minnesota Department of Health guide called Asthma: Practical Tips For P.E. & H.E. Teachers states the following facts
According to National Health Interview Survey 2001
● Approximately 2.5 students in a class of 30 are likely to have asthma (Asthma in Children Fact Sheet, American Lung Association, June 17 2003)
● Is the most common chronic disease causing absence from school (Asthma Prevalence, Health Care Use, and Mortality, 2000 –01, National Center for Health Statistic)
● 1 in 13 school children have asthma
● 6.3 million children under 18 have asthma
● 5 Minnesota students died of asthma in 2002
● 33% of all identified school related asthma deaths (1990 2003) occurred during a school sporting event or during PE class (Minnesota Center for Health Statistics Centers for Disease Control, 2004)
According to a Minneapolis Public School survey 2002
● 76% of respondents observed and/or assisted student/s with asthma problems in the past year
● 51.5% of respondents reported being uncomfortable assisting with asthma episodes
● 91% of P.E. teachers have seen students 9carry and use inhalers before P.E. class
● 68% observed students going to the health office before P.E. class
● 100% observed inhaler use during P.E.
● 24% observed students using someone else’s inhaler
● 77% observed students going to the health office or using their inhaler after P.E. class for asthma symptoms
What is EIA?
Exercise induced asthma (or EIA) causes breathing difficulty usually 5-20 minutes after starting intense physical activity or shortly after stopping. It is more common among children than adults. Ninety precent of diagnosed asthmatics have EIA.
EIA occurs more easily in cold, dry environments than in those that are warmer and more humid.
Sports activities that are less likely to trigger EIA:
Team sports that require short bursts of energy , including:
Sports that require continuous activity or are cold weather activities are more likely to trigger EIA:
Many children do not tell their parents when they experience symptoms, but rather complain of not being able to perform as well as their classmates. Some even express a dislike for sports. Still others think it is normal to get short of breath during exercise. Exercise Induced Asthma, therefore, may lead to problems with peers and teachers and low self-esteem. Eventually, reluctance to participate in athletics will have a negative effect on their overall health.
So should people with EIA avoid exercise?
Absolutely not. In fact, exercise is even more important for asthmatics than for other people. When applying Buteyko Method, as students progress, exercise becomes an essential part of their recovery.
EIA can be overcome.
While traditionally doctors have been puzzled about EIA and think this was a different form of asthma, Buteyko theory offers a rational explanation. In the very beginning and shortly after the end of the exercise, loss of Carbon Dioxide due to hyperventilation exceeds its accumulation due to physical activity.
The AsthmaCare Program teaches patients how to overcome Exercise Induced Asthma and improve their sports performance. Following recommendations, anybody will be able to advance their fitness level and avoid breathlessness, fatigue, wheezing and coughing. Even healthy athletes who want to excel in an endurance activity with strenuous demands are going to benefit immensely from normalization of breathing.
So, what about our question, “Shouldn’t athletic youth be the healthiest?” Yes, they should. Furthermore, if the foundation of correct breathing is taught within families and at schools, they will be.
To rephrase Lao Tzu’s quote:
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
I would say:
Give a child an inhaler and you stop his asthma for a day. Teach him how to breathe correctly, and you’ll stop his asthma for a lifetime.
Buteyko Clinic USA offers unique breathing rehabilitation programs that result in long term drug free control over asthma, allergies, COPD, rhinitis, chronic cough, snoring, sleep apnea, anxiety, panic, chronic hyperventilation syndrome and other chronic conditions. Contact us today for a free consultation.