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.
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