Self-reported asthma and exercise-induced asthma symptoms in high-level competitive cross-country skiers


Trond Heir, Asalveien 1, N-0876 Oslo, Norway


The prevalence of asthma and exercise-induced respiratory symptoms in 153 high-level Norwegian cross-country skiers and 306 control subjects were assessed in a postal survey. The response rates were 100% for the skiers and 79% for the controls. A present or past history of asthma was reported by 14% of the skiers and 5% of the controls. The prevalence of asthma increased signhcantly with increasing age among the skiers but not among the control subjects. The majority of the controls who reported asthma dated the onset of the disease to childhood, while the skiers dated the onset of asthma primarily to late adolescence or early adult life. The skiers used anti-asthmatic medication significantly more often than did the controls. Exercise-induced respiratory symptoms such as chest tightness, shortness of breath, cough, wheezing and sputum production were re- ported by 2–3 times as many skiers as controls. Exacerbation of respiratory symptoms was frequently associated with cold weather, humid weather or with recovering from an airway infection. The results of the present study indicate that cross-country skiers may be at an increased risk for acquiring obstructive respiratory disorders.