Background: The prevalence of asthma and bronchial hyper-responsiveness is greater in elite athletes than in the general population, and its association with mild airway inflammation has recently been reported.
Objective: To study the relationship between the type of sport practised at the highest levels of competition (on land or in water) and sputum induction cell counts in a group of healthy people and people with asthma.
Material and methods: In total, 50 athletes were enrolled. Medical history, results of methacholine challenge tests and sputum induced by hypertonic saline were analysed
Results: Full results were available for 43 athletes, who were classified by asthma diagnosis and type of sport (land or water sports). Nineteen were healthy (10 land and 9 water athletes) and 24 had asthma (13 land and 11 water athletes). Although the eosinophil counts of healthy people and people with asthma were significantly different (mean difference 3.1%, 95% CI 0.4 to 6.2, p = 0.008), analysis of variance showed no effect on eosinophil count for either diagnosis of asthma or type of sport. However, an effect was found for neutrophil counts (analysis of variance: F = 2.87, p = 0.04). There was also a significant correlation between neutrophil counts and both duration of training and bronchial hyper-responsiveness among athletes exposed to water (Spearman’s rank correlations, 0.36 and 0.47, p = 0.04 and 0.04, respectively).
Conclusions: Elite athletes who practice water sports have mild neutrophilic inflammation, whether or not asthma is present, related to the degree of bronchial hyper-reactivity and the duration of training in pool water.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.
Competing interests: None.