Exercise Induced Asthma

Exercise induced bronchospasm is a form of asthma. One typically experiences symptoms within 5-20 minutes after exertion.
80% of people with asthma and 45% of people with hayfever have this problem with strenuous exercise.
Exercise easily triggers asthma attacks in poorly controlled asthmatics.

How will I know if I have Exercise induced asthma?

The most common symptoms are:

  1. coughing
  2. wheezing
  3. shortness of breath
  4. chest tightness
  5. chest pain

Often exercise induced asthma starts during exercise and worsens when exercise stops. Think about how you feel when you exercise.
Do you tire easily or cough and wheeze?

A diagnosis may be made by doing an exercise challenge in our office. A breathing test is done,
followed by strenuous exercise running up and down stirs and completed with several post-breathing tests.
Using this information your health care provider will be able to understand if exercise causes or worsens your asthma symptoms.

How is Exercise Induced Asthma Treated?

The simple and effective way of treatment is called a "pre-treatment".
An inhaler, Proventil (albuterol), Intal, Foradil or Serevent inhaler is prescribed for use 10-30 minutes before exercise.
By using the pre-treatment, people with asthma are often able to participate safely and successfully in the exercise they enjoy.
Asthma should never be an excuse not to exercise: bronchospasm can be prevented or treated with Proventil if breakthrough occurs.
IF your asthma symptoms are occurring more often or are more severe with exercise let us know. We can increase the medicine you take daily
(long term control medicine) to get your asthma under better control.

What Sports are Best for People with Exercise Induced Asthma?

Sports or activities with bursts of activity are least likely to cause asthma symptoms.
Activities such as baseball, softball, volleyball, tennis, downhill skiing, golf and some track and field events all have brief rest periods.
This allows a person to regain control of their breathing.

Sports that require continuous activity like swimming, cycling, distance running and soccer also can be enjoyed by people with exercise induced asthma.
Participation in any sport often requires use of a pre-treatment before exercise and close monitoring.

Warming up for 6-10 minutes before engaging in more intense activitty, cooling down afterward, and drinking plenty of fluids during the session
may also help lower the risk for or minimize symptoms.

It is estimated that exercise induced asthma affects one in ten athletes including Olympic participants. Research shows that everyone can benefit
greatly from exercise physically and in terms of self esteem and stress relief.