Over half of all athletes, experts have discovered, suffer from exercise-related asthma.
According to the figures, the rates are nearly seven times higher than in the UK general population where the asthma rates are around 8 per cent.
The figures were based on a review of scores of published studies between 1989 and 2006 on respiratory problems and asthma caused by exercise.
This analysis showed that up to 54 per cent of elite athletes are affected.
Those most at risk are swimmers, endurance athletes and those who practice winter sports.
"Athletes appear to develop a special kind of asthma which involves injury to the airways," the Daily Express quoted Professor Connie Katelaris from the University of Western Sydney, a specialist in the exercise-induced asthma, as saying.
"Athletes need to be screened properly for this problem and those who experience breathing problems need to be seen by specialists in this area to get proper treatment," Katelaris added.
The figured were revealed at a recent conference of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in London.