Acute exposure to high-levels of ambient fine particulate matter while exercising results in airway narrowing, but the long-term effects of repeated exposure on exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) are not well known. The goal of this preliminary study is to determine the rate of EIB among a sample of non-treatment seeking veterans deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Materials and Methods: Twenty-four veterans (median [interquartile range]: 35.0 [27.3, 45] years) without history of asthma volunteered for this study. Spirometry was assessed before and after a standardized exercise challenge. A positive EIB response was defined as an exercise-induced fall in forced expiatory volume in 1 second ≥10%. Secondary criteria (peak flow ≥10% or mid-expiratory flow ≥15%) were also considered as an estimate of probable EIB. Results: A positive EIB response was observed in 16.7% and probable EIB response was observed in 41.7% of our sample. Median deployment length to Iraq or Afghanistan was 13.0 [10.3, 17.5] months and the median time since deployment was 4.2 [2.7, 7.7] years. At the time of testing, veterans reported persistent cough (58.3%), wheeze (37.5%), and shortness of breath (37.5%). During deployment, veterans reported exposure to dust and sand (70.8%), smoke from burn pits (66.7%), vehicle exhaust (83.3%), and regional air pollution (26.0%) on most days or daily. Conclusions: Approximately 17% of our sample of non-treatment seeking deployed Iraq and Afghanistan veterans demonstrated EIB, similar to the general population prevalence. However, persistent respiratory symptoms and alternative indices of probable EIB supports continued monitoring of this population.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health