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Is Exercise-Induced Asthma Slowing You Down?

By DuPage Medical Group

Do you find yourself coughing, wheezing, or feeling out of breath during or after exercise? If so, it may be more than just exertion causing your symptoms – you might have exercise-induced asthma. Exercise-induced asthma occurs when the tubes that bring air into and out of your lungs narrow with exercise, causing symptoms of asthma. With proper treatment and precautions, exercise-induced asthma is a controllable medical issue that won’t keep you from living an active life.

Know The Symptoms
Exercise-induced asthma symptoms may start a few minutes after you begin a workout, and can continue to worsen for several minutes after you’ve completed the routine. These symptoms can come on suddenly and strongly, making it very difficult to breathe. Symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath during or after exercise
  • Tightness or pain in the chest
  • Fatigue during exercise
  • Poor athletic performance

Develop a Treatment Plan
Many people don’t realize they have exercise-induced asthma because they think this is their body’s normal response to working out. Don’t assume your symptoms are the result of being out of shape or having short endurance. It’s important that you speak with your physician and develop a treatment plan. An exercise challenge test may be administered to determine if your symptoms are indeed caused by exercise-induced asthma. Treatment options include controller medications taken regularly or the use of medicines prior to exercising.

Reduce Your Risk
There are several steps you can take to help reduce your risk of an exercise-induced asthma episode occurring.

  • Warm up well and maintain adequate hydration. 
  • Breathe through your nose when exercising, as this will help warm and moisten the air before it reaches the bronchial tubes.
  • If possible, exercise indoors when it is cold and dry outside, and when particulate counts are high.
  • If you do exercise outdoors, wear a face mask or scarf to help warm the inhaled air with heat and moisture from your skin.
  • Most importantly, continue to exercise. Good cardiovascular fitness will enable you to exercise at a higher intensity before experiencing an exercise-induced asthma episode.

To learn more about if you’re at risk, click here to locate one of our physicians nearest you.


Topics and Subtopics: Asthma & Fitness & Exercise

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