New Exercises Help Athletes Manage Dangerous Breathing Disorder

Source: National Jewish Health

Summary: Doctors have developed new breathing techniques which help athletes to manage their breathing disorder, EILO – Exercise-Induced Laryngeal Obstruction.

Many of young athletes experience a potentially dangerous breathing disorder or the vocal cord dysfunction also termed as EILO – Exercise-Induced Laryngeal Obstruction. In EILO, upper airway is involuntarily and inappropriately closed during high-intensity exercise. EILO causes breathlessness and reduced exercise performance while performing the exercises. EILO episodes can be terrifying for the patients and an EILO episode can be diagnosed by observing the upper way with a flexible camera inserted into the airway. Doctors from National Jewish Health have developed novel breathing techniques to help athletes overcome vocal cord dysfunction and improve performance. The findings were published online in, Journal of Voice.

Breathing Disorder

Dr. Tod Olin, MD, teaches breathing exercises to Alexis Beggar, who suffers from EILO. Credit: National Jewish Health

This new breathing technique is named the Olin Exercise-Induced Laryngeal Obstruction Biphasic Inspiration Techniques (EILOBI). It was observed that 2/3rd’s of the study subjects showed improved results by reducing the EILO symptoms and 79% confirmed that these breathing techniques can be implemented during various sports activities. Real-time video data from a continuous laryngoscopy helped the doctors to design the 3 various breathing techniques depending on the tongue tooth and lip variants.

Tod Olin, senior author of the study and pediatric pulmonologist, said, “We found that if EILO patients can control and change the airflow through their mouth, they’re also able to control their throat,”“After teaching them these new techniques, 80 percent of patients reported them to be extremely helpful and two-thirds of patients were able to control their EILO symptoms by using them during exercise”, and further added “These new breathing techniques could represent a breakthrough for athletes seeking help with breathing during training and competition.”

More Information: Dr.Tod Olin et al, “New Exercises Help Athletes Manage Dangerous Breathing Disorder”, Journal of Voice (2017).

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