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Athletes' 'sweat and tears' linked to asthma
Date:9/7/2008

An athlete's ability to sweat may do more than keep the body cool. It also may prevent the development of exercise-induced asthma (EIA), a common respiratory condition among trained athletes. New research appearing in the September issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), shows that athletes with EIA produce less sweat, tears, and saliva than those who do not have breathing problems.

Warren Lockette, MD, lead study author and advisor to the University of Michigan's NCAA Division I women's swimming team, has worked with many Olympians and future professional athletes with EIA. "It is unclear why so many elite athletes have exercise-induced asthma," he said. "It is possible that they manifest symptoms of exercise-induced asthma simply because their levels of exertion and breathing rate are so high compared with the average, competitive sportsman."

As the head of clinical research at Naval Medical Center San Diego and a former medical officer with the US Navy SEALS, Dr. Lockette also knew that a diagnosis of asthma would preclude many young sailors from becoming Navy divers or special warfare operators. He teamed up with investigators at Naval Medical Center San Diego to try to understand the mechanisms by which asthma attacks are precipitated during exercise in otherwise healthy individuals.

Lockette and colleagues analyzed the relationship between fluid secretion rates (sweat, saliva, and tears) in 56 athletic subjects suspected of having EIA. Air movement through the lungs, i.e., the "FEV1," was measured in otherwise healthy volunteers before and after the administration of methacholine, a drug that can cause airways to constrict in patients with EIA. Researchers then measured responses to the application of pilocarpine, an agent used to induce sweating and saliva production. Individuals who were most sensitive to methacholine, i.e., who had the greatest fall in FEV1, were
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Contact: Jennifer Stawarz
jstawarz@chestnet.org
847-498-8306
American College of Chest Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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