Effect of nasal and oral breathing on exercise-induced asthma

Clin Allergy. 1981 Sep;11(5):433-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.1981.tb01616.x.


The effect of nasal as well as oral breathing during level-ground running for 6 min on the post exercise bronchial response was studied in fifteen people (five asthmatics with exercise liability, five asthmatics with no such liability and five normals). Each patient did the exercise twice; once with the nose clipped and once with the mouth closed. FEV1 was measured before exercise, immediately after exercise and at 5, 10, 15, 20 and 30 min thereafter. A fall in FEV1 of 20% or more from the basal level was taken as evidence of bronchoconstriction. When the patients were required to breath only through the nose during the exercise, the post-exercise bronchoconstrictive response was markedly reduced as compared with the response obtained by oral breathing during exercise, indicating a beneficial effect of nasal breathing. Nasal breathing was beneficial as compared with oral breathing in normals as well. In the five asthmatics with no exercise liability no appreciable difference was observed. This study suggests that the oropharynx and nasopharynx play important roles in the causation of exercise-induced asthma.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Asthma, Exercise-Induced / complications
  • Asthma, Exercise-Induced / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mouth
  • Nose
  • Respiration*