Preventing exercise-induced bronchospasm

September 5, 2017, Frontiers

A team of researchers in Italy have explored previous research to find the best ways to identify, prevent and treat exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB) in children with and without asthma. In EIB, the airways become constricted during and after exercise, and effective treatment could allow children to fully enjoy the benefits of exercise.

Getting plenty of is important for childhood development and previous research has shown that it has positive psychological and physiological effects in children, along with long-term effects on conditions such as obesity. EIB happens when the airways become constricted during and after exercise, potentially limiting the amount of exercise someone can do.

EIB is very common in children, with some studies reporting that up to 45% of children may be affected. Up to 90% of people with asthma suffer EIB, but people with no asthma can also be affected. Other factors that can trigger EIB include respiratory infections, allergies and environmental factors such as humidity and temperature.

So, what causes EIB? Researchers think that losing heat and moisture from the lungs during exercise causes white blood cells to release a cocktail of inflammatory proteins that make the airways narrower, causing shortness of breath and wheezing. This can happen rapidly, and symptoms generally appear within a few minutes of starting exercise. People with asthma tend to have higher numbers of white blood cells and more inflammation in their lungs, making them particularly susceptible.

EIB can make exercise difficult or impossible, a fact that motivated Serena Caggiano, a researcher at Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital in Rome, to identify the most effective EIB treatments for a recent study in Frontiers in Pediatrics. "In children, EIB can reduce quality of life and participation in sport. Our motivation was to identify the right treatment and prevention strategies so that children with EIB can take part in physical activities," says Caggiano.

As methods to identify, prevent and treat EIB can vary quite a lot from place to place, the researchers searched the literature to find the most successful methods, to help doctors make the best choices.

They identified that the best way to diagnose EIB involves an exercise challenge, where patients run or cycle to get their heart rate up. After the task, measuring how much air the patients can exhale in a forced breath lets doctors know if they have EIB and how severe it is. The researchers emphasize that it is important to distinguish between EIB and other respiratory diseases, to make sure that doctors use the most appropriate treatments.

The research team identified some of the most effective pharmacological treatments, and these include drugs that children can inhale before exercise, which inhibit specific in the lungs, or relax muscles in the airways, making breathing easier. In their study, they highlight the correct drugs and drug combinations to take depending on the severity of the disease.

However, the team also present several practical preventative methods that can reduce EIB. These include wearing a face mask during exercise to help humidify inhaled air, performing a gentle warm-up before exercise to reduce the cooling effect of cold air in the lungs and selecting exercises such as indoor swimming that avoid cold, dry air in favor of warmer, moister air. Parents and teachers can help at risk from EIB to use these simple preventative methods.

The team's advice is invaluable for parents, teachers, doctors and scientists. "By presenting the strengths and limitations of current approaches, this study should help researchers to develop new diagnostic tests and optimal treatments and help doctors to optimize and standardize EIB ," says Caggiano.

Explore further: There's fun and fitness in the pool for asthmatic kids

More information: Serena Caggiano et al, Exercise-Induced Bronchospasm and Allergy, Frontiers in Pediatrics (2017). DOI: 10.3389/fped.2017.00131

Related Stories

There's fun and fitness in the pool for asthmatic kids

February 20, 2017
(HealthDay)—Safe, healthy fun for kids with asthma may be as near as the neighborhood pool, one respiratory specialist says.

For kids with both asthma and obesity, which came first?

September 3, 2014
For years, doctors have known that there is a link between childhood obesity and asthma, but have found it difficult to determine which condition tends to come first, or whether one causes the other.

Prebiotics drastically reduce severity of exercise-induced asthma, study shows

August 3, 2016
The severity of exercise-induced asthma can be significantly reduced by taking prebiotics – food ingredients which target beneficial bacteria in the gut – according to new research.

Get out there and exercise

May 1, 2017
(HealthDay)—Everyone's made excuses for skipping exercise. It's too cold outside, you're too busy or you're just too tired to get out of bed.

Do kids grow out of childhood asthma?

July 18, 2016
When a child is diagnosed with asthma, parents usually have a number of questions. How serious is asthma? Will the child grow out of it? How can it be treated? It can be difficult to get clear answers, as asthma affects different ...

London smog may be tough on Olympians

July 26, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Air pollution may aggravate breathing problems among athletes with asthma or a related condition known as exercise-induced bronchoconstriction at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, an allergists' group warns.

Recommended for you

Urgent call for prevention strategies for sleep-related infant deaths

June 22, 2018
Dr. Kyran Quinlan and colleagues at Rush issue an urgent call for prevention strategies for sleep-related infant deaths in his viewpoint, "Protecting Infants From Sleep-Related Deaths" published in the June 18 online issue ...

Infant colic leads to no ongoing problems, study shows

June 21, 2018
Colicky babies whose crying eases within three months have no ongoing behavioural problems according to new research by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI).

Diagnosing and treating disorders of early sex development

June 19, 2018
Diagnosing, advising on and treating disorders of early sex development represent a huge medical challenge, both for those affected and for treating physicians. In contrast to the earlier view, DSD (Difference of Sex Development) ...

Use of alternative medicines has doubled among kids, especially teens

June 18, 2018
A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics shows that since 2003, the use of alternative medicines, such as herbal products and nutraceuticals, among children has doubled. The University of Illinois at Chicago researchers who ...

Virtual reality headsets significantly reduce children's fear of needles

June 18, 2018
The scenario is all too familiar for the majority of parents. The crying, the screaming and the tantrums as they try to coax their children into the doctor's office for routine immunizations. After all, who can't relate to ...

Both quantity and quality of sleep affect cardiovascular risk factors in adolescents

June 15, 2018
A study from a research team led by a MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) physician finds that both the quantity and quality of sleep—the amount of time spent sleeping and the percentage of sleep that is undisturbed—in ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.