Asthma in Elite Athletes: Who Cares?

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Asthma or exercise-induced bronchoconstriction is highly prevalent in athletes and if untreated has the potential to impact on their health and performance. The condition can be diagnosed and managed effectively yet there is concern that the care afforded to elite athletes with this condition is often suboptimal. In this respect, it is apparent that more could be done to protect athletes from developing airway dysfunction (eg, by reducing exposure to irritant environments); that the diagnosis of asthma in athletes is often made without secure objective evidence and that athletes may be advised to reduce activity levels in order to improve symptoms. Moreover there appears to be poor surveillance of airway health in athletes when a diagnosis of asthma has been made. Overall this raises the question of who cares about athletes with asthma? The article that follows present the case of why this is an important clinical area for physicians. The review provides an overview of asthma in athletes with the overall aim of ensuring that respiratory health in this unique population is optimized.

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