Thursday, September 20, 2007

Physical Fitness Improves Asthma Management In Children

Children with asthma who improve their physical fitness are likely to experience beneficial effects on disease control and quality of life, according to a study published recently in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise , the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). The results show aerobic training to be effective in improving cardiopulmonary fitness and decreasing daily use of inhaled steroids in asthmatic children, outcomes that should have positive implications for disease management in a group that tends to have lower cardiorespiratory fitness than their healthy counterparts.

"Children who experience breathing restrictions caused by asthma sometimes fear inducing breathlessness by exercise, which can cause physical deconditioning over time," said Celso Carvalho, Ph.D., an author on the study. "This is where we often see patients with asthma having lower fitness levels. Physical training, properly supervised, is not only a possibility for this group, but also a management strategy for their symptoms."

The study enrolled 38 children with moderate-to-severe persistent asthma, randomly assigned to either a training group or a control group. Exercise performance and exercise-induced bronchoconstriction was evaluated 16 weeks apart, while daily doses of inhaled steroids and Pediatric Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (PAQLQ) scores also were recorded.

Asthmatic children, even with moderate to severe disease, showed significant improvements in their aerobic capacity after the training program and a reduction in exercise induced-bronchoconstriction, which induces breathlessness and is a characteristic response to exercise present in most patients. Daily doses of inhaled steroids were reduced in trained patients by 52 percent, but remained unchanged or increased in the control (untrained) group. When compared to controls, these children also reported a significant improvement in health-related quality of life.

The authors emphasize that training should be supervised and performed in children properly medicated, and the actual impact of physical training on clinical indicators of disease control is unknown. While these data suggest an adjunct role of physical conditioning on clinical management of patients with more advanced disease, additional research is warranted to discover the contribution of exercise on asthma symptoms and its manifestations.

The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 20,000 international, national, and regional members are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise is the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, and is available from Lippincott Williams & Wilkins at 1-800-638-6423.

American College of Sports Medicine



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