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Exercise-Induced Asthma Common in College Athletes

Presence or absence of symptoms did not reliably predict disease

TUESDAY, Sept. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Almost 40 percent of a cohort of college athletes at a single institution had documented evidence of exercise-induced bronchospasm, researchers report in the September issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Furthermore, the presence or absence of symptoms did not reliably predict which athletes had bronchospasm.

Jonathan P. Parsons, M.D., of Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus, and colleagues tested 107 college varsity athletes from 22 different sports at Ohio State University using eucapnic voluntary hyperpnea.

Overall, 39 percent of athletes met criteria for exercise-induced bronchospasm, and the majority (86 percent) had no prior history of asthma or bronchospasm. There were no significant differences in prevalence according to sex of the athlete, ventilatory demands of the sport, or presence of symptoms. In athletes reporting symptoms, 35 percent had documented exercise-induced bronchospasm, while 36 percent of those not reporting symptoms also had bronchospasm.

"Our results imply that empirically diagnosing and treating patients for exercise-induced bronchospasm without objective testing likely will lead to inaccurate diagnoses and may lead to unnecessary morbidity," the authors write.

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