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Airway dysfunction in elite swimmers: prevalence, impact, and challenges

Authors Lomax M

Received 6 February 2016

Accepted for publication 11 March 2016

Published 12 May 2016 Volume 2016:7 Pages 55—63

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OAJSM.S88339

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Lucy Goodman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Andreas Imhoff


Mitch Lomax

Department of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK

Abstract: The prevalence of airway dysfunction in elite swimmers is among the highest in elite athletes. The traditional view that swimmers naturally gravitate toward swimming because of preexisting respiratory disorders has been challenged. There is now sufficient evidence that the higher prevalence of bronchial tone disorders in elite swimmers is not the result of a natural selection bias. Rather, the combined effects of repeated chlorine by-product exposure and chronic endurance training can lead to airway dysfunction and atopy. This review will detail the underpinning causes of airway dysfunction observed in elite swimmers. It will also show that airway dysfunction does not prevent success in elite level swimming. Neither does it inhibit lung growth and might be partially reversible when elite swimmers retire from competition.

Keywords:
exercise, aquatic athletes, bronchoconstriction

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