Nasal obstruction, the airway, and the athlete

Laura H. Fisher, Michael J. Davies, Timothy J. Craig

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Rhinitis is a common condition that affects a significant proportion of the general population, as well as a high proportion of athletes. Nasal congestion is a predominate symptom of the late-phase reaction in allergic rhinitis and can have far-reaching effects that extend through the airway and beyond the nose. Rhinitis is often found in conjunction with asthma and is a risk factor for asthma. Nasal obstruction, which does not permit conditioning of inspired air by the nasal turbinates, may contribute to asthma symptoms and the development of asthma. These adverse conditions may be especially troublesome for the high-performance athlete who has increased nasal airflow turbulence and who competes under extreme conditions that may worsen rhinitis and asthma. Under the theory of the unified airway, an immune response induced in the nose may extend into the lungs via cytokines and other inflammatory mediators. Nasal congestion can significantly contribute to sleep dysfunction, leading to daytime fatigue and decreased performance. Treatment of allergic rhinitis can improve sleep and foster productivity. Control of rhinitis and nasal congestion, which is obtained by various therapies, may reverse lower airway tendency to bronchoconstriction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-158
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy


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