Chronic Medical Conditions Do Not Have to Sideline Athletes
LAS VEGAS, Oct. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Athletes with chronic medical conditions, like asthma and diabetes, could face the risk of health complications or even sudden death when playing their chosen sport. Precautionary measures, however, can help people with these conditions stay in the game.
“Whether or not they have an underlying medical condition, it is important people see their physician before playing team sports to assess any risks they might have that could result in serious injury or worse on the field,” explains Angela C. Cavanna, DO, an AOA board-certified internist and sports medicine physician.
Dr. Cavanna, who discussed preventing sudden death in athletes during the American Osteopathic Association’s (AOA) OMED 2013, the Osteopathic Medical Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas, offers the following tips based on the National Athletic Trainers’ Association position statement to help athletes with medical conditions avoid serious complications.
-- Do warm-up exercises prior to the game, which can help prevent asthma attacks and may reduce reliance on medication as athletes could experience a longer refractory period, which is the length of time an athlete remains free of symptoms after the original asthma attack. -- If an asthma attack occurs, use a short-acting beta-agonist and, if needed, supplemental oxygen and monitor carefully. -- Use of inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta-agonists may help prevent asthma attacks while improving lung function.
-- Create a diabetes care plan, including blood glucose target levels during practice and games, list of medications taken, and emergency contact information. -- Since exercise, training and competition can cause blood glucose levels to fluctuate, check blood glucose before, during and up to four hours after exercise. -- If blood glucose levels drop, consume a fast acting carbohydrate, like 2 tablespoons of honey, and monitor levels until stable.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest
-- The leading cause of death in young athletes, sudden cardiac death is usually caused by a structural cardiac abnormality and in the majority of cases patients do not show symptoms until sudden cardiac arrest occurs. During a pre-participation exam, let your physician know if there are cases of sudden death or sudden cardiac arrest in your family. -- Access to an automated external defibrillator may help save lives while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive on the scene. Currently, 17 states have legislation requiring or encouraging schools to have these devices.
About the American Osteopathic Association
The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) proudly represents its professional family of more than 104,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students; promotes public health; encourages scientific research; serves as the primary certifying body for DOs; is the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical schools; and has federal authority to accredit hospitals and other health care facilities. More information on DOs/osteopathic medicine can be found at www.osteopathic.org.
SOURCE American Osteopathic Association