Exercise-Induced Asthma

Asthma is a condition in which the airways in the lungs(bronchioles) tend to constrict more than normal due to muscle spasms. This constriction results in difficulty in breathing (shortness of breath, wheezing, or coughing). For some patients the symptoms are caused by physical activity; this is known as exercise induced asthma.

SYMPTOMS

  • Shortness of breath.

  • Wheezing.

  • Coughing.

  • Chest tightness.

  • Decrease in optimal performance.

  • Fatigue.

RISK INCREASES WITH:

  • History of asthma.

  • Cold air.

  • Changes in humidity.

  • Air pollution.

  • Allergens in the air.

PREVENTION

  • Know the triggers of your exercise-induced asthma and avoid them.

  • During winter you may need to exercise indoors or wear a mask if you do exercise outdoors.

  • Breathing through the nose instead of the mouth, especially in the winter.

  • Warm-up for an appropriate length of time before a vigorous workout.

  • Take medications to control your asthma.

TREATMENT

Asthma medications work well for most patients suffering from exercise induced asthma. Medications are able to both prevent asthma attack, as well as treat attacks already happening. The most common type of medication for asthma is called a bronchodilator. Bronchodilators act by expanding the constricted airways. The most common type of bronchodialator is albuterol (Ventolin, Proventil) and should be taken 15 to 30 minutes before physical activity and as soon as symptoms begin to appear. Additional medications, such as cromolyn (Intal) and nedocromil (Tilade), may be prescribed by your caregiver. It is important for all asthma patients to use their medications as directed their caregiver.