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Even Olympians are prone to the rigors of asthma

Though they may seem infallible, even Olympians suffer from diseases such as asthma.

When the world gathers to watch the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics tonight, it should be noted that many of the athletes participating in the games are role models not just for their athletic prowess, but also for the challenges they've overcome to get to the games.

According to statistics from NBC news, the percentage of residents in the Olympic village who suffer from asthma far exceeds that of the general population.

A report from NBC that covered the 1996 Atlanta Olympics concluded that more than 20 percent of all Team USA athletes suffered from asthma. Comparatively, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) finds that only one in every ten Americans on average are afflicted with the disease.

Doctors have determined that the increased prevalence of asthma diagnoses among Olympic athletes is a combination of environmental conditions, vigorous training and increased awareness of potential respiratory risks.

"It could be that since athletes recognize how critical good lung health is, they may just seek and get a better diagnosis," Dr. Jackie Eghrari-Sabet of Maryland-based Family Asthma and Allergy Care told NBC news in a story covering the games from July 26.

With the atmospheric conditions in London, a city known for high levels of air pollution, taking extra care with asthma treatment will be paramount for athletes at this years games, Eghrari-Sabet told the news source.

Because of strict drug policies, athletes participating in the games must apply to officials on the U.S. team before taking certain medications that are prescribed to asthma sufferers.

For non-athletes who don't have to meet certain guidelines, it is best to follow their doctor's orders to regularly take their prescriptions and use aids like HEPA air filters to treat the air they breathe. 

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