Brazilian Journal of Pulmonology

ISSN (on-line): 1806-3756 | ISSN (printed): 1806-3713


Publication continuous and bimonthly

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Incidence of asthma symptoms and decreased pulmonary function in young amateur swimmers

Frequência de sintomas de asma e de redução da função pulmonar entre crianças e adolescentes nadadores amadores

Iara Nely Fiks, Leonardo Carlos Araujo Santos, Telma Antunes, Raquel Calvo Gonçalves, Celso Ricardo Fernandes de Carvalho, Carlos Roberto Ribeiro Carvalho

J Bras Pneumol.2009;35(3):206-212

Abstract PDF PT PDF EN Portuguese Text

Objective: To investigate the incidence of asthma symptoms in young amateur swimmers, and to describe the clinical treatment of the children with asthma in a private sports club in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. Methods: The study included 171 amateur swimmers, ranging from 6 to14 years of age. All of the participants or their legal guardians were asked to complete the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) questionnaire, and 119 were submitted to pulmonary function testing at rest. Results: The overall incidence of asthma symptoms (ISAAC score ≥ 6) among the swimmers was 16.8%. Of the 119 swimmers submitted to spirometry, 39 (32.7%) presented spirometric alterations (FEV1/FVC < 0.75). Among those with an ISAAC score ≥ 6, there were 10 (31.2%) who stated that they were receiving no asthma treatment. Of those who reported receiving pharmacological treatment, 24% made use of bronchodilators but not of corticosteroids. Conclusions: The incidence of asthma symptoms and pulmonary function alterations among amateur swimmers within the 6-14 age bracket was high. In addition, a relevant proportion of these athletes were receiving no treatment.


Keywords: Asthma/therapy; Asthma/diagnosis; Child; Swimming; Exercise.


Occurrence of asthma symptoms and of airflow obstruction in amateur swimmers between 8 and 17 years of age

Ocorrência de sintomas asmáticos e de distúrbio obstrutivo em nadadores amadores de 8 a 17 anos de idade

Iara Nely Fiks, André Luis Pereira de Albuquerque, Leonardo Dias, Celso Ricardo Fernandes de Carvalho, Carlos Roberto Ribeiro de Carvalho

J Bras Pneumol.2012;38(1):24-32

Abstract PDF PT PDF EN Portuguese Text

Objective: To determine the prevalence of asthma symptoms and of airflow obstruction in amateur swimmers between 8 and 17 years of age, as well as to assess the awareness of asthma and asthma management among these swimmers, their parents, and their coaches. Methods: Our sample comprised 1,116 amateur swimmers who completed a modified version of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood written questionnaire, to which questions regarding the reasons to initiate swimming and regarding asthma management had been added. In addition, the participants underwent spirometry prior to a swimming competition. Results:   The prevalence of asthma symptoms in the last 12 months was 11.5%, and 327 (29.4%) of the participants reported "wheezing or whistling" in the past. Of the 223 swimmers who reported "asthma ever" or "bronchitis ever", only 102 (45.7%) reported having ever been treated: the most common "treatment" was swimming (in 37.3%), and only 12.7% used inhaled corticosteroids. Of the 254 participants (22.7%) with airflow obstruction, only 52  (20.5%) reported having asthma symptoms. Conclusions: Asthma symptoms are present in amateur swimmers, and a considerable number of such swimmers have airflow obstruction without symptoms. It is therefore likely that the prevalence of asthma is underestimated in this population. It is worrisome that, in our study sample, the swimmers previously diagnosed with asthma were not using the recommended treatments for asthma. The clinical implications of these findings underscore the importance of implementing educational measures for amateur swimmers, as well as for their parents and coaches, to help them recognize asthma symptoms and the consequent risks in the sports environment, in order to allow prompt diagnosis and early clinical intervention.


Keywords: Asthma/diagnosis; Asthma/prevention & control; Sports.




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