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How Paula overcame asthma
Around the Academy:

The respiratory system
Asthma causes your airways to become inflamed
Record-breaking marathon runner Paula Radcliffe is one of Britain's best athletes - despite developing asthma when she was 14.

England midfielder Paul Scholes was diagnosed with asthma when he was 21 - but he still went on to help Manchester United clinch the Premiership.

Legendary cricketer Ian Botham kicked asthma before going on to captain his country.

And as the Sport Academy found out, there's no reason why asthma should hold YOU back either

What is asthma?
It's a condition that affects your airways and sometimes makes breathing difficult.

It's very common - one in eight kids in the UK have asthma.

What are the symptoms?
Coughing, wheezing, a tight feeling in the chest and shortness of breath.

Can I catch it from other people?
No. Asthma is not infectious.

But you are more likely to develop asthma if your parents have it or if they have any other allergies.

What causes it?
Scientists have yet to find out what exactly causes asthma.

But there are a number of things that can trigger it off.

These include exercise, pets, dust mites, pollen and tobacco smoke.

They can irritate your airways, making them red and swollen.

And because this makes them narrower, it makes breathing harder.

So does that mean I can't play sport?
Paul Scholes always takes his inhaler before a match
Paul Scholes always takes his inhaler before a match

If you take your treatment regularly, there's no reason why you shouldn't play sport.

It will help if you warm up well beforehand by doing some stretching or slow running.

Paula Radcliffe's warm-up sessions last about 45 minutes and she always goes for a gentle 15-minute jog before a race.

Swimming is a very asthma-friendly sport.

It helps you control your breathing and the warm, moist air creates an ideal environment.

Like Paula Radcliffe you can use two types of medicine to make your asthma better - although neither will make your asthma go away completely.

Paula uses her preventer inhaler - usually brown or orange in colour - first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

Taking it reduces the likelihood of Paula developing coughing, wheezing or a tight chest when she exercises or comes into contact with any other asthma triggers.

Paula uses her reliever inhaler - usually blue in colour - before exercising. And she can take a couple of puffs on it whenever she gets short of breath.

Click around the links above to find out how one young swimmer has dealt with asthma.

You can also find out about some of the top class sportsmen and women who have beaten asthma to become the best.

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What is asthma?
Steven's story
Athletes with asthma

Open Quote
I don't really think asthma has affected my career - if anything it's made me more determined to be successful and reach my maximum potential.
Close Quote
Paula Radcliffe
Paula Radcliffe
World marathon record holder

National Asthma Campaign
Tel: 0845 7 01 02 03

:: Find out more about asthma

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