Joanne Harris |

Rowing with asthma

The chances are that every rowing club in the country has several members who have been diagnosed with asthma. Joanne Harris talks to Professor Luke Howard, consultant pulmonologist and lead clinician for the pulmonary hypertension service at Hammersmith Hospital, part of the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, about how rowers with respiratory issues can manage their condition

Separately, Howard rowed for Oxford University Lightweight RC as a student before taking up the sport again in 2018. He now rows and sculls regularly out of Thames Tradesmen’s RC. On a clinical level, Howard has been involved with British Rowing since the London 2012 Olympic Games, advising on respiratory issues.

“Asthma’s the commonest respiratory disease, particularly in young people, so you’re definitely going to come across it,” says Professor Howard, who specialises in pulmonary hypertension, and has a particular interest in exercise, sports physiology and sports performance. He adds that studies suggest that approximately a quarter of endurance athletes may have the condition.


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