Occupational Asthma Reference
Selge C, Thomas S, Nowak D, Radon K, Wolfarth B.,
Asthma prevalence in German Olympic athletes: A comparison of winter and summer sport disciplines,
Keywords: athlete, asthma, Germany, questionnaire
Prevalence of asthma in elite athletes shows very wide ranges. It remains unclear to what extent this is influenced by the competition season (winter vs. summer) or the ventilation rate achieved during competition. The aim of this study was to evaluate prevalence of asthma in German elite winter and summer athletes from a wide range of sport disciplines and to identify high risk groups.
In total, 265 German elite winter athletes (response 77%) and 283 German elite summer athletes (response 64%) answered validated respiratory questionnaires. Using logistic regression, the asthma risks associated with competition season and ventilation rate during competition, respectively, were investigated. A subset of winter athletes was also examined for their FENO-levels and lung function.
With respect to all asthma outcomes, no association was found with the competition season. Regarding the ventilation rate, athletes in high ventilation sports were at increased risk of asthma, as compared to athletes in low ventilation sports (doctors' diagnosed asthma: OR 2.32, 95% CI 1.19-4.53; use of asthma medication: OR 4.46, 95% CI 1.52-13.10; current wheeze or use of asthma medication: OR 2.78, 95% CI 1.34-5.76). Athletes with doctors' diagnosed asthma were at an approximate four-fold risk of elevated FENO-values.
The clinically relevant finding of this study is that athletes' asthma seems to be more common in sports with high ventilation during competition, whereas the summer or winter season had no impact on the frequency of the disease. Among winter athletes, elevated FENO suggested suboptimal control of asthma.
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