Exercise-Induced Asthma 2018-01-29T17:05:19-06:00

Exercise-Induced Asthma

Exercise is important for good health, but when you have exercise-induced asthma, it can complicate things. Asthma is an incurable disease that affects your lungs and subsequently, your breathing. Those with asthma have to be very cautious with physical activity. Many different things trigger asthma. Unfortunately, exercise is one of them. If this is a new problem for you, it can be very scary. Sometimes exercise-induced asthma does not show up until later in life. You are not always born with it. Just like the name says, you are fine until you start exercising, that is when you experience asthma symptoms. The good news is that there are available treatments for you.

Asthma is an ongoing condition; there is no cure for it. As you age, asthma symptoms will sometimes get better and in other cases, it may worsen. Inflammation is a characteristic of asthma. The inflammation occurs in the airways. It makes the airways narrow which makes breathing difficult. Not only does the airways swell and narrow, but the muscles that sit around those airways tighten up. It does not give the lungs room to expand and constrict. When you do not manage asthma, inflammation will get worse, and asthma attacks will be more frequent. This is dangerous because you may have perma nent damage to the lining of the airways. Knowing the symptoms of asthma will help you get treatment quicker and avoid damage.


The symptoms of asthma can be life-threatening. When you have asthma, you first experience shortness of breath. You will start coughing as a way to gain air. When breathing in, you will notice wheezing. The chest becomes very tight. This tightness is a result of the inflammation of the airways. You may feel more tired than usual during exercise, and your athletic performance will not be as good as expected. How can you work to your full potential when you cannot breathe? When you start experiencing these symptoms, you need something to open the airways. With exercise-induced asthma, your symptoms are triggered specifically by exercise. You will be completely fine and as soon as you get your heart-rate up the symptoms will occur.

Exercise-induced asthma does not always lead to an asthma attack, but some things will worsen your asthma symptoms and cause one.  Hard, strenuous exercise may trigger inflammation in the airways. The harder you work, the more at risk you become. Cold and dry air will also affect asthma. Breathing is affected by air temperatures. When you breathe through your nose, the air is warmer and becomes moist through the nasal passage. This warm air makes breathing easier. You will notice that when you are out in the cold, your breathing is a bit more shallow. Well, cold and dry air affect the muscles around the airways. When you exercise you stop breathing through your nose and start breathing through your mouth. Air that comes through the mouth is cooler and does not have as much moisture. The muscles contract and you experience the symptoms stated earlier.

Exercise-induced asthma is difficult because it makes you not want to exercise at all, which is not good for you. When you do exercise, you do not get the benefits you need because you cannot work to your optimum level. Sometimes an asthma attack will result. You do not have to stop exercising altogether. You can manage and prevent exercise-induced asthma if you take precautions. Using preventative medication will help you keep your asthma under control and prevent symptoms from even appearing.


exercise-asthma-allergic-reaction-allergy-allergist-top10md-2Management of exercise-induced asthma requires the use of medication. Before exercising, you should take a preventative drug. SABA (Short-acting beta agonists) work to open the airways. Atrovent is another type of medication used to relax the airways. There are other medications used to manage asthma after exercise.  Steroids are the primary source of treatment. Steroids work by preventing inflammation in the airways altogether. Using these stronger medicines daily will prevent any symptoms from occurring at all. It is not good to take this medication once and think everything will be fine. You have to continue taking these medications to keep your asthma under control. Other things you can do for yourself is warm up before exercising. You should also learn to control your breathing. Learning to breathe through your nose will help you control asthma symptoms and keep the air entering your lungs warm. Stay away from exercising in cold weather and if you are in a dry climate, exercising outside is not the best option either.

Exercise-induced asthma may seem very scary, but it can be managed and treated. You do not have to let exercise-induced asthma keep you from working out and having a healthy lifestyle. Asthma medications can control and prevent asthma attacks. Taking medication before exercise and staying on a daily regimen will help you reach optimal health and reach your physical goals. Take control of exercise-induced asthma and take back control of your life.


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