Trying to beat asthma caused by exercise

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

As many parents would know, exercise can cause asthma-related breathing problems in children like wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath.  It can be a scary thing for both the child and parents.

Our researchers are conducting a study looking at exercise-related asthma in young children, and we need volunteers to take part.

Study leader Professor Graham Hall said the findings may help improve the diagnosis and management of exercise-induced asthma in young children in the future.

"As young kids grow and become more physical when they play, parents may notice that their child's asthma symptoms occur with running and exercise," explains Professor Hall. 


"For some families it may be the first time this has happened."

"But there is currently no way of predicting or diagnosing exercise-induced asthma in young children," Professor Hall says.

"If we can predict which kids will have breathing problems when they exercise, parents can be better prepared with medications and asthma management plans."

The study is looking at two types of tests for detecting exercise-induced asthma - an exercise challenge and a mannitol (sugar) test - with lung function tests before and after. 


Get involved
Children aged between 4 and 7 years can take part including children with a history of exercise-related symptoms in the past year and healthy children who have never had any respiratory symptoms. 


Phone 9340 8121 to get involved or for more information.


About the Study

We want to see how well we can identify exercise related asthma in young children. We hope that this study will help to improve the diagnosis and management of young children with exercise related asthma in the future. 


Asthma is a lung disease that can result in wheeze, cough and shortness of breath. In some children and adults these breathing problems are caused by exercise and this is often called exercise induced asthma.


In older children and adults there are tests we can use to help diagnose exercise related asthma. These tests involve measuring your lung function (how you breathe) before and after an exercise test.


Another test involves breathing in a special type of sugar called mannitol that mimics what happens during exercise by causing the airways to dry out a little bit and then measuring how well the lungs work.


However, young children can find it hard to do the lung function test that is normally used. At Princess Margaret Hospital we have a special lung function test that can be easily performed by children as young as three years.

To participate in the study, we will ask that you and your child come to come to Respiratory Medicine at PMH twice over a 2-3 week period for about 90 minutes each time.


On one occasion, your child will do an exercise test involving about 4-6 minutes of free running, which is made into a fun game. Over the following half hour, they will then perform our special lung function test that only requires normal breathing on a mouthpiece to see how their lungs responded to the exercise.


On the second occasion, your child will perform the Mannitol test, which involves inhaling the mannitol sugar via an inhaler as mentioned above, which mimics exercise. After each inhalation your child will perform the simple breathing test to check how their lungs are responding to the mannitol. If at any time your child has a change in lung function or starts to wheeze, the test will be stopped and they will be given Ventolin and monitored appropriately.


On the second visit, your child will also have a skin prick test done, to check whether your child is allergic to common inhaled allergens. We will also confirm this from a small blood test which checks for overall allergy level.

Asthma & Excercise - Graham Hall & Jasmine














Professor Graham Hall with Caitlyn

Last updated: Wednesday, August 5, 2015

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