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Exercise-induced asthma, respiratory and allergic disorders in elite athletes: epidemiology, mechanisms and diagnosis: Part I of the report from the Joint Task Force of the European Respiratory Society (ERS) and the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) in cooperation with GA2LEN

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Aims: 

To analyze the changes in the prevalence of asthma, bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) and allergies in elite athletes over the past years, to review the specific pathogenetic features of these conditions and to make recommendations for their diagnosis. Methods: 

The Task Force reviewed present literature by searching Medline up to November 2006 for relevant papers by the search words: asthma, bronchial responsiveness, EIB, athletes and sports. Sign criteria were used to assess level of evidence and grades of recommendation. Results: 

The problems of sports-related asthma and allergy are outlined. Epidemiological evidence for an increased prevalence of asthma and BHR among competitive athletes, especially in endurance sports, is provided. The mechanisms for development of asthma and bronchial hyperresponsiveness in athletes are outlined. Criteria are given for the diagnosis of asthma and exercise induced asthma in the athlete. Conclusions: 

The prevalence of asthma and bronchial hyperresponsiveness is markedly increased in athletes, especially within endurance sports. Environmental factors often contribute. Recommendations for the diagnosis of asthma in athletes are outlined.
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Keywords: allergy; asthma; bronchial responsiveness; exercise-induced asthma; sports

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Voksentoppen, Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Rikshospitalet, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway 2: Department of Respiratory Medicine, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown, Australia 3: Department of Respiratory Medicine & Allergology, University Hospital, Lund, Sweden 4: CNR, Institute of Neurobiology and Molecular Medicine, Rome, Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Second University of Naples, Naples, Italy 5: Dipartimento di Medicina Interna, Università di Genova, Genova, Italy 6: Allergy and Respiratory Diseases, DIMI – Department of Internal Medicine University of Genova, Genova, Italy 7: Suite 35 Blackrock Clinic, Blackrock, County Dublin, Ireland 8: Serviço e Laboratório de Imunologia, Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade do Porto, Hospital de S. João, Porto, Portugal 9: Medicina 2, Policlinico Univer. Di Cagliari, Presidio di Monserrato, Monserrato, Cagliari, Italy 10: Sports Physiology Department, Olympic Training Center CAR, 08173 Sant Cugat del Valles, Barcelona, Spain 11: Department of Allergy, Skin and Allergy Hospital, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland 12: Lung and Allergy Research Division of Physiology, IMM Karolinska Institutet 13: Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica, v.le Università 37, Rome, Italy 14: Clinical Centre of Allergology, Medical University 1, Sv. Georgi Sofiyski St, Sofia 15: Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

Publication date: April 1, 2008

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