Exercise-induced asthma is said to occur when ones airways narrow during or after exercise. Actually, exercise does not CAUSE asthma per se, but it does frequently trigger asthma. Doctors actually use a more preferred term, exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (pronounced brä?-k?-k?n-?strik-sh?n), which just means narrowing of the bronchioles (or small airways).
Typical symptoms are shortness of breath, chest tightness, and cough. People can have asthma symptoms that become worse with exercise (more commonly) or may have only exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, without symptoms at other times.
Exercise-triggered symptoms usually develop 10 to 15 minutes after exercise. Exericse in cold air often causes severe symptoms because the airways are sensitive to cold, dry air. Symptoms normally resolve with rest within 60 minutes.
*** This is different than simple shortness of breath related to exercise, which generally resolves within 5 minutes with rest.
Proper warm up and cool down strategies can help prevent or lessen the symptoms.
Preventing exercise-induced asthma in many cases also includes the use of an inhaled medication taken before exercise, like albuterol (fast acting) which opens the airways. This medicine is often called a RESCUE inhaler (read below)
TREATMENT for Exercise Induced Asthma:
For attacks that don’t resolve with rest: Make a strategy with your doctor about how to treat symptoms that don’t resolve with rest. Usually this includes taking a rescue medication (ie, inhaled fast-acting bronchodilator, such as albuterol) or increasing the dose of an inhaled steroid, if taken for asthama.
Severe attack: Taking more puffs is one strategy to treat persistent symptoms. For patients with home nebulizer machines, sometimes treatments with this are necessary. Ask your doctor how to approach this should it occur.
**HAVE A PLAN in place just in case.
If symptoms worsen or do not improve after initial use of a rescue medication, someone should immediately call for emergency medical assistance. Severe asthma attacks can be fatal if not treated promptly.
***Many people with medical conditions wear a bracelet, necklace, or similar alert tag at all times. If an accident occurs and the person cannot explain their condition, this will help responders provide appropriate care.
Here’s to Personal Health Mastery!