Background: Many studies have suggested that more women then men present with physical symptoms. There is no data available, however, on the differences in reporting of physical symptoms between teenage male and female athletes. Our objective was to evaluate the differences according to gender in physical symptoms in healthy teenage athletes. Methods: A total of 1,465 high school athletes, between the ages of 13 and 19 years participated in a mass echocardiographic screening programme for detection of cardiac abnormalities. Screening was conducted using a hand-carried cardiac ultrasound device (OptiGo, Philips). All participants were actively involved in a high school sport programme. Each athlete was required to fill out a questionnaire before the screening. The athletes were asked to report the occurrence of physical symptoms with activity or exercise. A physical examination was not performed during screening. Results: There were 1,031 (70.4%) male and 434 (29.6%) female participants. Significantly more female teenage athletes reported physical symptoms (190/434, 43.8% versus 267/1,031, 25.9%, odds ratio: 2.28, confidence interval: 1.76-2.81, p less than 0.001). Symptoms did not correlate with any echocardiographically identified cardiac abnormalities in either gender. The differences in the reporting of symptoms were significant for all physical symptoms addressed by the questionnaire. Conclusion: There is a high prevalence of reporting physical symptoms in young healthy athletes without any relation to cardiac abnormalities. Young female athletes report physical symptoms nearly twice as often as their male counterparts.
- Sudden death
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine