During a long period, doctors were afraid to recommend physical exercise to asthma patients fro they presented a condition called bronchospasm, which is the narrowing of the air passages, causing respiratory difficulties. This condition is induced by physical effort, however, despite it, the asthma symptoms decreased with regular practice of exercises.
A series of researches on asthma and possible treatments for the disease have been developed since 2007 by Prof. Dr. Celso Fernandes Ricardo de Carvalho, from the Physiotherapy, Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy Department of the Medical School of the Universidade de São Paulo.
“In any kind of disease – Alzheimer, Parkinson, sclerosis, among many others, the physical exercise has a fundamental role in the treatment of patients. Unfortunately, it is an underestimated factor by people”, clarifies Prof. Celso de Carvalho.
The first studies on asthma indicated patients who regularly exercised since childhood had their symptoms significantly reduced. To test the hypothesis, tests in animals were performed, which confirmed the viability of physical exercises as a treatment for asthma. “Initially people didn’t believe it was possible and, today, the world uses the practice of physical activities to treat patients with asthma”, states the researcher.
Through animal tests, it was possible to elaborate experimental interventions for people with asthma. The resource worked on the treatment of children, adults and obese adults. The research published in 2017, by the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, the most well-regarded journal of the respiratory field in the world, of which professor Celso was one of the authors, investigated the benefits of physical activities in obese adult patients with asthma.
The study has shown the advantages of a non-invasive technique, the regular physical activity, for weight loss, asthma control and improvement of the patients’ quality of life. The research was a top paper and can be consulted through this link.
It was also through animal testing the researchers discovered regular physical activity can decrease and control the inflammation caused by asthma. According to Prof. Celso de Carvalho, “the role of animal tests was essential. If we haven’t shown the benefits in responsible studies with animals, there would’ve been a delay of 20 or 30 years for them to be confirmed”.