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Last Updated: Tuesday November 24 2009 16:33 GMT

David Beckham has had asthma since he was young

David Beckham

England football star David Beckham has asthma, it has been revealed, after he was seen using an inhaler at a match.

The LA Galaxy player was filmed using the medicine during the Galaxy's recent MLS Cup final penalty defeat to Real Salt Lake.

A spokesperson has confirmed Beckham has had asthma since he was young- but it hasn't affected his career.

Asthma charities hope the news may help others with the condition have more confidence they can achieve things.

Dr Mike Thomas, the chief medical advisor for Asthma UK said: "There are more than five million people with asthma in the UK and 76% of people with asthma tell us that exercise is a trigger for their condition.

Sports stars with asthma
Rebecca Adlington
Frank Lampard
Paul Scholes
Paula Radcliffe
Rebecca Adlington

"Asthma is particularly common among elite sports people like Paul Scholes and Paula Radcliffe, who both have the condition, proof that asthma need not stop you competing at the highest level."

Around a million children have asthma, and it's hoped that seeing Beckham using his inhaler may help them realise having asthma doesn't have to stop them achieving things.

Beckham's spokesperson added: "He has never sought to make it public but if it does inspire any sufferer to think they can achieve great things like many other sportsmen have done, then so much the better."