PURPOSE: To assess the impact of exercise-related respiratory symptoms on adults with asthma.
METHODS: A national cross-sectional survey was conducted in adults diagnosed with asthma or taking medications for asthma in the prior 12 months. Responses were analyzed to assess whether exercise-related respiratory symptoms (coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing, noisy breathing, or trouble getting a deep breath) influenced participation in daily physical activities.
RESULTS: Survey responses from 1001 adults with asthma were obtained. Among all respondents, 28.4% missed work in the past year due to their health. Exercise (30.9%) was the most commonly reported asthma trigger in respondents; 8 out of 10 adult asthmatics experienced at least 1 of the 6 symptoms associated with EIB. The 3 most commonly reported symptoms were shortness of breath, wheezing, and trouble getting a deep breath. While 53.7% of respondents experienced at least 4 EIB symptoms, only 30.6% had been diagnosed with EIB. 30.7% of respondents reported that their asthma symptoms interfered “a lot” or “a moderate amount” with their lives. 45.6% of respondents were likely to avoid activities because of EIB symptoms. Respondents felt that asthma limited their ability to participate either “a lot” or “some” in sports/recreation (46.1%), normal physical exertion (39.8%), and other outdoor activities such as biking/hiking (47.8%). Although treatment guidelines recommend short-acting bronchodilators (SABAs) such as albuterol, only 22.2% of respondents took them “always” or “most of the time” before exercise.
CONCLUSION: There is a lack of awareness and underdiagnosis of EIB, as evidenced by the number of respondents who exhibited up to 6 symptoms of EIB but were undiagnosed. Although EIB symptoms substantially limit the ability to participate normally in physical activities, the vast majority of respondents were not using SABAs before exercise.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Patients with EIB should adhere to current treatment guidelines by using controller therapy when indicated and pre-exercise preventative treatment with SABAs to optimally manage their symptoms.
DISCLOSURE: T Craig, Grant monies (from industry related sources) T Craig: Schering Plough, Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, Methapharm, AstraZeneca, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Novartis/Genentech, Dyax, Lev Pharmaceuticals, PDL, Centocor, Sanofi-Aventis, Altana; N Eid: Genentech; N Ostrom: Alcon, Alexza, Amgen, Antigen Labs, Apotex, Astellas, AstraZeneca, BoehringerIngelheim, Capnia, Critical Therapeutics, GlaxoSmithKline, MAP, MEDA,Merck, Novartis, Schering-Plough, Teva, UCB; Consultant fee, speaker bureau, advisory committee, etc. T Craig: Advisory board: Sanofi-Aventis; Speaker bureau: Merck, Genentech/Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Schering Plough;G Colice: Advisory board: GlaxoSmithKline, Teva, Pfizer, Lilly, Boehringer Ingelheim, Schering Plough, Adams, Almirall, Forest, Otsuka; S Stoloff: Consultant/advisory board: Alcon, AstraZeneca, Dey, Genentech, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Novartis, Schering-Plough, Sepracor, Teva, Boehringer-Ingelheim; speaker bureau: Alcon, AstraZeneca, Dey, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline; N Eid: Consultant: AstraZeneca, Genentech, Novartis, Schering-Plough, Teva; N Ostrom: consultant/speaker: AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, MAP, MEDA, Merck, Novartis, Sanofi Aventis,Schering-Plough, Teva, UCB; ML Hayden: consultant: Teva, Schering-Plough, AstraZeneca, Sepracor; J Parsons: speaker bureau/consulting: Teva, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, AstraZeneca; No Product/Research Disclosure Information