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Asthma is common amongst top athletes

Experts have stated that young people shouldn’t allow having a medical condition such as asthma hold them back from doing well in sport. A report recently published by the University of Kent found that many top athletes that often grace our television screens tend to suffer from some form of asthma.

Whilst there are higher profile cases of athletes suffering from the condition – Paula Radcliffe for example, is famous for being an individual who has asthma, but is also well known for being incredibly successful at long distance running.

Both runner Paula Radcliffe and the former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes have developed successful athletic careers despite having the respiratory condition, but the research carried out at the University of Kent also found that swimmers, cyclists and other athletes often suffer from the condition, too.

John Dickinson, who carried out the study, analysed 22 UK-based swimmers and discovered that 70% of them had some form of asthma. He also examined cyclists from the Team Sky cycling team and discovered that about a third suffered, too.

Dickinson, who is also the head of the respiratory clinic at Kent’s School of Sport and Exercise Science, also discovered that whilst some of the athletes he analysed had what is being dubbed ‘classic asthma’, many tended to have exercise-induced asthma (EIA). Now, athletes are being treated using bronchio-dilating inhalers to help them breathe during exercise, so long as it is within a specific dosage level and cannot be used as an enhancement drug.

Dickinson stated that asthma shouldn’t hold back young and ambitious people from undertaking sport as a hobby or career. He also said that generally, sport can greatly aid those suffering from asthma: “It allows you to get a lot more confident about controlling the way that you breathe. The sensation of an obstruction you feel when you’re younger has dropped massively. A lot of the athletes who say they had it as a child but don’t anymore, when you do the test they still have a positive test.”

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