Exercise-induced dyspnea is a problem among the general adolescent population

Respiratory medicine (Impact Factor: 3.09). 06/2014; 108(6). DOI: 10.1016/j.rmed.2014.03.010


Respiratory symptoms during exercise are common and might limit adolescents' ability to take part in physical activity.

To estimate the prevalence, determinants and consequences of exercise- induced dyspnea (EID) on daily life in a general population of 12-13 year old adolescents.

A letter was sent to the parents of all 12–13 year old adolescents in the city of Uppsala (n=3838). Parents were asked to complete a questionnaire together with their child on EID, asthma and allergy, consequences for daily life (wheeze, day time- and nocturnal dyspnea) and physical activity.The response rate was 60% (n=2309).

Fourteen percent (n=330) reported EID, i.e. had experienced an attack of shortness of breath that occurred after strenuous activity within the last 12 months. Female gender, ever-asthma and rhinitis were independently associated with an increased risk of EID. Ever-asthma was reported by 14.6% (n=338), and 5.4% (n=128) had both EID and ever-asthma. Sixty-one percent (n=202) of the participants with EID did not have a diagnosis of asthma. In addition to rhinitis, participants with EID reported current wheeze and day-time as well as nocturnal dyspnea more often than the group without EID. No difference was found in the level of physical activity between participants with and without EID.

Adolescents with undiagnosed exercise-induced dyspnea have respiratory symptoms and are affected in daily life but have the same level of physical activity as adolescents without exercise-induced respiratory symptoms.

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    ABSTRACT: Background Exercise-induced respiratory symptoms are common among adolescents. Exercise is a known stimulus for transient narrowing of the airways, such as exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) and exercise-induced laryngeal obstruction (EILO). Our aim was to investigate the prevalence of EIB and EILO in a general population of adolescents. Methods In this cross-sectional study, a questionnaire on exercise-induced dyspnoea was sent to all adolescents born in 1997 and 1998 in Uppsala, Sweden (n=3838). A random subsample of 146 adolescents (99 with self-reported exercise-induced dyspnoea and 47 without this condition) underwent standardised treadmill exercise tests for EIB and EILO. The exercise test for EIB was performed while breathing dry air; a positive test was defined as a decrease of ≥10% in FEV1 from baseline. EILO was investigated using continuous laryngoscopy during exercise. Results The estimated prevalence of EIB and EILO in the total population was 19.2% and 5.7%, respectively. No gender differences were found. In adolescents with exercise-induced dyspnoea, 39.8% had EIB, 6% had EILO and 4.8% had both conditions. In this group, significantly more boys than girls had neither EIB nor EILO (64.7% vs 38.8%; p=0.026). There were no significant differences in body mass index, lung function, diagnosed asthma or medication between the participants with exercise-induced dyspnoea who had or did not have a positive EIB or EILO test result. Conclusions Both EIB and EILO are common causes of exercise-induced dyspnoea in adolescents. EILO is equally common among girls and boys and can coexist with EIB.
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