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Exercise induced asthma

Exercise induced asthma
Do you suffer from a shortness of breath with coughing and wheezing during and or after your workouts? Well you could be suffering from exercise induced asthma. In this post I’ll explain the causes, symptoms and treatment needed to combat this annoying situation.

What is exercise induced asthma?

Exercise induced asthma is now also known more correctly as exercise induced bronchoconstriction, but for the purpose of this post I’ll mostly be calling it exercise induced asthma.

Exercise induced asthma is where people suffer from a number of the symptoms of asthma caused by the narrowing of the airways during or after physical exertion.

What causes exercise induced asthma?

Firstly those with asthma are prone to triggering their asthma when doing physical activity. Depending on the severity of their asthma, they can suffer from exercise induced asthma from a simple brisk walk, while others can get away with no symptoms until they partake in more intense physical exercise/activities.

However some non asthma sufferers can also suffer from the same symptoms to that of the asthma suffer during and after exercise. Often those who suffer from hay fever are more susceptible to getting exercise induced asthma. This can occur after a number of years of suffering from hay fever, with about 1/3 of hay fever suffers getting bronchoconstriction.

Physical activity can trigger these symptoms, as you exercise you tend to breath harder and faster and through your mouth. This fast breathing causes the air to be colder and drier as it gets to the lungs, causing inflammation and narrowing of your airways. It normally occurs sometime within your workout depending on the environment and intensity of your workout and usually subsides within 30 minutes after your workout, although it can re appear again a number of hours later.

Often where you workout in can trigger or make the matter worse, such as working out in dry cold air or a dusty or high pollen environment.

What are the symptoms of exercise induced asthma?

The following is a list of the symptoms you may suffer from when exercise induce asthma occurs:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Physical fatigue
  • Reduced performance
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Mucus formation
  • Tight chest
  • Sore throat
  • Upset stomach

Symptoms should decrease shortly after you exercise, but for more severe sufferers can go on for a little while after. If you are suffering from any severe symptoms of exercise induced asthma or the symptoms start getting worse, stop working out and seek medical advice and get a proper diagnosis.

What can you do to treat exercise induced asthma?

The following can help either avoid or reduce the symptoms:

  • Seek medical advice to get diagnosed and receive the correct medication
  • Warm-up properly before your workout for approximately 10 minutes
  • Have a cool down period after your workout
  • Reduce your exercise intensity and the length of your workouts, especially on high pollen days. You could also try splitting your workouts over the course of a day. For example 3 x 10-15 minute sessions. This will reduce the chances of over taxing your lungs and airways.
  • Avoid working out in the cold and workout indoors
  • Breath as much as possible through your nose
  • Use a sports face mask
  • Avoid dusty and dry environments
  • Use nasal sprays
  • Use an appropriate inhaler