Exercise-induced dyspnea is a problem among the general adolescent population

Respir Med. 2014 Jun;108(6):852-8. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2014.03.010. Epub 2014 Mar 27.


Rationale: Respiratory symptoms during exercise are common and might limit adolescents' ability to take part in physical activity.

Objective: To estimate the prevalence, determinants and consequences of exercise-induced dyspnea (EID) on daily life in a general population of 12-13 year old adolescents.

Methods: A letter was sent to the parents of all 12-13 year old adolescents in the city of Uppsala (n = 3838). Parents were asked to complete a questionnaire together with their child on EID, asthma and allergy, consequences for daily life (wheeze, day time- and nocturnal dyspnea) and physical activity. The response rate was 60% (n = 2309).

Results: Fourteen percent (n = 330) reported EID, i.e. had experienced an attack of shortness of breath that occurred after strenuous activity within the last 12 months. Female gender, ever-asthma and rhinitis were independently associated with an increased risk of EID. Ever-asthma was reported by 14.6% (n = 338), and 5.4% (n = 128) had both EID and ever-asthma. Sixty-one percent (n = 202) of the participants with EID did not have a diagnosis of asthma. In addition to rhinitis, participants with EID reported current wheeze and day-time as well as nocturnal dyspnea more often than the group without EID. No difference was found in the level of physical activity between participants with and without EID.

Conclusion: Adolescents with undiagnosed exercise-induced dyspnea have respiratory symptoms and are affected in daily life but have the same level of physical activity as adolescents without exercise-induced respiratory symptoms.

Keywords: Adolescents; Asthma; Exercise; Exercise-induced dyspnea; Questionnaire.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asthma / complications
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dyspnea / etiology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Respiratory Sounds / physiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires