Athletic

Athletes at Risk: The Hidden Connection Between Respiratory Disorders and Athletic Performance

July 25, 2023

Studies and records from years past have reported isolated instances of athletes experiencing respiratory problems during both performance and regular exercise. Research from the 1980s pointed out specific medical challenges occurring during endurance training. Over the past three decades, there has been ongoing debate within the medical and sports communities regarding the respiratory system’s capabilities in healthy individuals. This debate has gained particular urgency given recent incidents involving world-renowned athletes suffering cardiac arrests during gym sessions, despite being considered healthy.

Several factors can lead to pulmonary issues or respiratory disorders, particularly when considering the lungs’ capacity to withstand intense physical training. As one of the leading causes of death among top-level endurance athletes, and a significant factor affecting their performance, understanding respiratory disorders is crucial. Symptoms such as bronchospasm, edema, and even asthmatic attacks during rigorous training sessions serve as warning signs of a respiratory disorder. This article from the NIH, authored by Maurizio Bussotti, Silvia Di Marco, and Giovanni Marchese, explores the endurance levels athletes must reach and how this is connected to respiratory health.

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