Alistair’s Story Ironman And Asthmatic
Alistair is a chronic asthmatic, but hes also an Ironman. Hes had a few health challenges but hes learned ways to manage his condition so he can compete at a high level in a triathlons.
“My childhood was punctuated with time in and out of hospital, although my parents were proactive in sourcing the best treatments available, including my very own nebuliser,” he says.”My asthma is at the worst end of the scale: its severe, especially if I dont do my best to control it. Many things cause my asthma and even when its managed well, there are certain triggers that all the control in the world wont stop an attack from coming on.
In late 1999 I was introduced to triathlons. It was not long before I was hooked and in 2005 I made the NZ Age Group Team for the Triathlon. In 2006 I took time out from sport. By 2009 I was struggling to do anything in the way of activity that lasted longer than 20 to 30 minutes, without the need for my reliever inhaler. After having a lot of time off I was 25 kg heavier and much older. I realised then my triathlon training had helped me take control of my asthma in a way no other sport had ever done. I knew I had to get back into it, which meant I had to build up my training slowly and steadily.
Given how severe my asthma is, its crucial I manage myself well. Additionally, the sport I do has me actively engaging with asthma triggers on a daily basis. The key stages to my successful management have been:
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What Is Included In An Asthma Test
This exam will include an inspection of the eyes, ears, nose, and throat, as well as possible lung X-rays.
Once the physical exam is complete, the doctor will test your lungs using a series of breathing tests. If your lungs are underperforming, they will determine whether the source of the problem is asthma or something else.
Its important to remember that there are different levels of asthma, so even if you are diagnosed, it may not be as severe as some other cases. Generally speaking, asthma severity ranges from 4 different levels:
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When To See A Doctor Or Go To The Hospital
If you havenât yet been diagnosed with asthma, see your doctor if you have frequent wheezing or coughing that lasts for more than a few days.
If you are diagnosed with asthma, you will then work on keeping your condition under control and monitoring your condition to see if it is getting worse rather than better. When asthma is not well controlled, you can likely expect to experience one or more of the following:
- You become more aware of your wheezing.
- You develop a cough that wonât go away.
- You cough more at night or in cold weather.
- You cough or wheeze with physical activity.
- You get less relief from quick-relief medications.
- You have more trouble falling asleep or getting a good nightâs rest.
- You get easily tired of tasks you can normally complete.
- Your allergy symptoms worsen.
- You have a downturn in your peak expiratory flow rate .
If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor to determine whether there have been significant changes in your respiratory health. Spirometry and other tests may be used to evaluate the extent of these changes and what, if any, revisions to your treatment plan need to be made.
Go to the emergency room if any of the following occur:
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Will My Doctor Test For Conditions Other Than Asthma
If your doctor thinks you have something other than asthma or related to asthma, they may run other tests. These might include a chest X-ray, acid reflux test, sinus X-rays, or other specialized tests. Your doctor may also perform allergy tests. Allergy tests are not used to find out if you have asthma. But if you have allergies, they may be triggering your asthma.
There are other conditions that have similar symptoms to asthma. Your health care provider may also assess you for conditions such as:
- Abnormal airways
Signs Of Poor Asthma Control
- You have frequent breathing difficulties and find yourself coughing or wheezing most days
- Your asthma impacts your sleep if your asthma symptoms wake you up or keep you up at night your asthma isnt controlled
- You cant exercise or exert yourself physically without experiencing breathing difficulties
- You frequently miss work or school due to asthma
- You use your reliever medication more than 3 times per week
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Where To Get An Allergy Test
Any healthcare provider can order a specific IgE blood test to aid in the diagnosis of your allergies. But did you know that you can get an allergy test without an in-person visit to a doctors office? With or without insurance, you can get access to a quick, personalized allergic sensitization test at a time and place that works for you. Explore the options below to either obtain your own allergy tests or arrange a virtual medical appointment.
If you or your child experience symptoms such as wheezing, frequent cough, shortness of breath or chest tightness, it is important to see a healthcare provider to determine if the symptoms point to asthma.
To diagnose asthma, a doctor will evaluate these symptoms, ask for complete health history, conduct a physical exam and look at test results.
At the initial visit, your asthma care provider will determine your level of severity and create a treatment plan. At each follow-up visit, they will assess your asthma control and adjust your treatment plan as needed.
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Is There An App For That
There are variety of mobile apps available for people with asthma. These can be a useful way to learn about and take control of your asthma, eg, they can help you keep track of your symptoms, triggers, peak flow readings and medication. You can also create an asthma action plan together with your doctor or nurse. The Health Navigator app library team has reviewed some asthma apps that you may like to consider. Read more about asthma apps.
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When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About Eib
If you or your child has symptoms of exercise or sports-induced asthma, call your provider. Several conditions have symptoms that are similar to EIB. Its essential to get evaluated.
If you or your child has severe shortness of breath or trouble breathing, seek immediate medical attention. Call 911 or go directly to the emergency room.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Many people with exercise-induced asthma play sports, enjoy a range of activities and live an active lifestyle. People of all fitness levels, including Olympic athletes and marathon runners, manage asthma and excel at their sports. If you or your child has EIB, be sure to include a warmup routine before exercise. Keep an eye on pollen counts and air quality before you head outside. Talk to your provider about medications that can help you breathe easier. With lifestyle changes and prior planning, you can stay active and exercise safely.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/17/2021.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
As with asthma, people with COPD may experience coughing and shortness of breath.
Its also possible to have both asthma and COPD. Contact a doctor if youre experiencing symptoms of either condition.
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How Do I Check Myself For Asthma
Asthma is a respiratory disease. According to a survey report by NPR, Asthma affects around 25 million Americans, and 9 million of them are children. To check Asthma, you can perform a simple test at home. Let follow some steps: Step-1: You can use a peak flow meter or you can make one by using a plastic bottle and a ruler. These meters measure the amount of air you can exhale in one second, also called peak flow. Its a good indicator of how well your lungs are working. Step-2: Put the plastic bottle to your lips and breathe out as hard and as fast as possible into it. Step-3: Read your peak flow meter and record the numbers. Step-4: After recording your readings, you can compare your readings with the normal values . If you have low peak flow readings, you should see an allergist..
What Types Of Asthma Are There
Asthma is broken down into types based on the cause and the severity of symptoms. Healthcare providers identify asthma as:
- Intermittent: This type of asthma comes and goes so you can feel normal in between asthma flares.
- Persistent: Persistent asthma means you have symptoms much of the time. Symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe. Healthcare providers base asthma severity on how often you have symptoms. They also consider how well you can do things during an attack.
Asthma has multiple causes:
- Allergic: Some peoples allergies can cause an asthma attack. Allergens include things like molds, pollens and pet dander.
- Non-allergic: Outside factors can cause asthma to flare up. Exercise, stress, illness and weather may cause a flare.
Asthma can also be:
- Adult-onset: This type of asthma starts after the age of 18.
- Pediatric: Also called childhood asthma, this type of asthma often begins before the age of 5, and can occur in infants and toddlers. Children may outgrow asthma. You should make sure that you discuss it with your provider before you decide whether your child needs to have an inhaler available in case they have an asthma attack. Your childs healthcare provider can help you understand the risks.
In addition, there are these types of asthma:
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The Test Can Save Money
A spirometry test generally costs less than $100. Not having the test can cost a lot more money. If the test shows that you do not have asthma, this can save you hundreds of dollars a month for asthma medicines. If you do not have the test and you have asthma, an emergency room visit for an asthma attack can cost thousands of dollars.
How Does Exercise Trigger Asthma Symptoms
Doctors think they know why some peopleÃÂ¢s asthma is made worse by exercise .Normally, people breathe through their nose. Your nose acts as an air filter. It controls the temperature and humidity of the air before it reaches your lungs.When you exercise, your body wants more air. Your breathing speeds up to get more air. You start breathing through your mouth, so you can gulp down more air. But air that comes through your mouth has not been filtered, warmed, or humidified by your nose. This means the air that gets to your airways is cooler and drier than usual.If you have asthma, your extra-sensitive airways donÃÂ¢t like cool dry air. Your airways react: the muscles around the airways twitch and squeeze tighter. Tighter airways mean there is less space for the air to pass through. This makes you wheeze, cough, and feel short of breath.
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Can You Get Asthma At Any Age
Wendy Bass | Answered August 10, 2020
While most people develop the condition in childhood, adult-onset asthma is also possible. In fact, asthma symptoms can develop at any age and stage of life. Some people who have asthma as children age out of flare-ups as they get older, while others first experience the condition well into adulthood.May 20, 2022
When Bronchitis Leads To Asthma
Also, more severe cases of bronchitis could even lead to asthma. The reason for this is that bronchitis is typically a result of a bacterial or viral infection. In most individuals, bronchitis will go away once the infection is cleared.
If it doesnt, its highly likely that bronchitis will become asthma. This is a common cause of adult-onset asthma. Put simply, and the infection caused the airways to change in a manner that triggered classic symptoms of asthma.
The bottom line is, while asthma and bronchitis are very closely related, they are different lung conditions. And even if its very easy to mistake asthma for bronchitis and vice versa, knowing exactly what makes them different from each other can help make certain that you get accurate treatment for whatevers causing your symptoms.
About The Author:
Stacey Smith is a freelance health writer. She is passionate to write about womens health, dental health, diabetes, endocrinology and nutrition and provide in-depth features on the latest in health news for medical clinics and health magazines.
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What Other Tools Can I Use For Monitoring Asthma Control
Peak Flow Meter
Sometimes doctors recommend a peak flow meter a handheld device that measures how well air moves out of your lungs. A peak flow meter, when used every day, can spot reduced airflow before you notice the signs and symptoms of an asthma episode.
Peak flow meter readings can help you monitor your asthma control. But they are just one tool. Your peak flow meter reading is not the only indicator of asthma control. Always follow your Asthma Action Plan.
Doctors use pulse oximeters to measure how much oxygen your blood is carrying. Some people with asthma may experience a drop in their oxygen levels in their blood.
Pulse oximeters you can buy online and use at home are not as accurate as medical grade devices. Monitoring your blood oxygen levels with pulse oximeters is not a recommended part of home management of asthma.
Lung Function Tests
Your allergist or pulmonologist may use different lung function tests to assess your asthma control. Learn more about the tests used to diagnose and monitor asthma.
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What Do I Do If I Think I Have Asthma
Evelyn Mills |
Gwendolyn Webb | Answered November 2, 2021
Sinus infections, allergies, pollen, breathing in some chemicals, and acid reflux can also trigger attacks. Physical exercise some medicines bad weather, such as thunderstorms or high humidity breathing in cold, dry air and some foods, food additives, and fragrances can also trigger an asthma attack.Aug 21, 2020
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Keep A Record Of Asthma Symptoms
If you or a family member have breathing difficulties, keep a diary of symptoms to discuss with your doctor. You could also make a video or audio recording of the wheezing, using your mobile phone.The diary may include:
- when the symptoms occur such as during the day or worse at night
- how bad the symptoms are and how often they happen
- how long the symptoms remain and whether they change with time
- whether the symptoms are worse after exercise, playing, laughing or after an infection
- whether the symptoms are worse after exposure to animals, pollens or mould.
Asthma Uk Is Here To Support You
We also have lots of tips on living with asthma, from doing sports and going on holiday, to studying with asthma and having relationships.
Explore our health advice web pages and . The more you know about your asthma, the better youll be able to work with your GP or asthma nurse to manage it well.
Speak to someone about your asthma
You can also call our Helpline on 0300 222 5800 to speak to a respiratory nurse specialist. Or you can WhatsApp them on 0307378 606 728.
You can ask them anything from symptoms and treatments to living life without asthma getting in the way.
Next review due February 2024
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What Causes An Asthma Attack
An asthma attack can happen when you are exposed to asthma triggers. Your asthma triggers can be very different from someone elses asthma triggers. Know your triggers and learn how to avoid them. Watch out for an attack when you cant avoid your triggers. Some of the most common triggers are tobacco smoke, dust mites, outdoor air pollution, cockroach allergen, pets, mold, smoke from burning wood or grass, and infections like flu.
Why Do Doctors Use Tests For Asthma
Asthma tests help to diagnose and monitor asthma. They can also show how your lungs respond to asthma medicine.
Symptoms of asthma, like cough, breathlessness, and wheeze can also be caused by other conditions too. Once your doctor has looked at your symptoms, triggers, and your family and clinical history, asthma tests are the best way to confirm or rule out asthma.
As well as the tests listed here, there are some other tests which asthma specialists might use to help diagnose and monitorsevere asthma.
Most asthma tests are suitable for adults, young people, and children over five. Not everyone will need to do all of these tests.
However, some children over five may not be able to do the tests well enough yet.If so, your GP will continue to treat their symptoms and keep an eye on them.
They can then try doing tests again in about six months or a year. Find out more aboutgetting a diagnosis for your child.
You may need to do tests more than once
Asthma symptoms can vary over time. So, if one test comes back normal, it doesnt completely rule out asthma. It could just mean that on the day of the test your airways were not as narrow and inflamed.
You may need to do some tests more than once, or a few different tests, to help your GP make the right diagnosis.
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