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How Does Asthma Affect Exercise

Getting Started Check Your Asthma Health

Exercise and Asthma

Its natural to worry that exercising might set off your symptoms, especially if youre recovering from a recent asthma attack.

Looking after your asthma is a vital first step to feeling more confident about getting active.

1) Take your preventer medicine as prescribed

Your preventer inhaler helps soothe the underlying inflammation in your lungs and cuts your risk of an asthma attack.

This means your airways will be less likely to react when you start breathing faster from exertion.

Youll also have more protection from common triggers like pollen, pollution and mould spores.

2) Ask your GP or asthma nurse to support you

They might offer to help you monitor and review your asthma more regularly while you get more active.

You could try asking to be referred to a respiratory physiotherapist who will teach you breathing techniques to help with your asthma, but unfortunately waiting lists are long.

The good news is that following a breathing technique programme has been proven to work as well as seeing a physio in some cases.

Is It Common To Be Overweight And Have Asthma

In the United States, 16.9% of children and 34.9% of adults are obese.6 About 8% of people younger than 15 years and 7.2% of people older than 35 years have asthma.7 Research has shown that obese adults are 1.6 to three times more likely to develop asthma.1 The effect of childhood obesity on asthma is less clear.1

How Do Doctors Diagnose Eib

It is important to know the difference between being out of condition and having EIB. To make a diagnosis, your doctor will take a thorough history and may perform a series of tests. Your doctor will measure your breathing before, during and after exercise to test your lung functions. Then, your doctor will help you create a plan so you can take steps to prevent asthma symptoms and enjoy physical activity. Your doctor will also tell you what to do should a full-blown asthma episode occur.

Read Also: Dr Sebi Asthma Treatment

Create An Asthma Action Plan

Both adults and children need to create an asthma action plan to outline what type of medicine they should take and when. It will also provide details for what to do when a persons asthma is dangerously out of control. These instructions will help you, your child, friends and relatives know when its time to change treatments or seek emergency care.

To make this plan, discuss your treatment options with your doctor. Plan what you should do in the event of an asthma flare-up. Define at what point you need to increase treatment measures to prevent or reduce an attack.

List what triggers can be avoided and the best ways to avoid them. Share this plan with friends, relatives, and any caregivers your children may have. Together, you will be able to successfully treat your or your childs asthma and avoid future complications.

Benefits Of Exercising With Asthma

Is asthma genetic? Causes and risk factors

Even if you have asthma, you shouldnt avoid exercise altogether.

Regular physical activity is essential for managing health, improving energy, and reducing the risk of chronic disease. If you already have a chronic condition, regular exercise can help you manage it.

This includes asthma. With a doctors guidance, regular exercise could help asthma by:

  • promoting blood flow to your lungs and heart
  • improving endurance and stamina

Recommended Reading: Side Effects Of Nebulizer Treatments

Data Analysis And Presentation

Immediately after each session, the audiotapes were transcribed and analyzed by the researchers, thus providing the opportunity to detect gaps, reveal unclear comments, and facilitate the rolling interview guide for the upcoming session of the same focus group. This approach provided the moderators with essential information from the previous sessions and recommendations for the upcoming session. Two reviewers independently coded all statements of the children concerning components of HRQL. Some statements were coded twice, because they provided information on more than one component. When a child emphasized a particular component for the second time, this statement was coded again. Consequently, we were able to calculate the total number of statements per code. In case of discordance between the two reviewers, a third reviewer was consulted.

The outcome of the NGT was used to weigh the importance of the finally identified components. The components that had been labeled as the most important for the children received 3 points, the second-most important component received 2 points, and the third-most important component received 1 point. A total score per component was calculated.

Emotional And Mental Impact

The children emphasized that they felt different from peers. Medication use was a negative aspect of asthmatic disease that was frequently mentioned. However, the interviewed children were thinking rather positively about the future. They expected that improved medication might become available in the future, that bullying would develop to be less frequent at high school, and hoped that they would outgrow the disease like they had heard from some people. The most frequently mentioned cognitive complaint was the lack of concentration in school. Coughing, in particular, was found to disturb their concentration.

Illustrative quotes regarding emotional and mental impact

No, because when I get out of bed like that, and then I have to take medicine and then Im like, yeah then I sometime, I really dont want to, but I do have to. And that takes a while. And when I have to, I say to myself , only when I dont have to, then Id be happy. Because sometimes in class, I have to cough, but not often, but its not nice. Uh yeah.

Well sometimes I feel a bit different when I suddenly have trouble with my lungs.

Yes and when they bully you now, WHEN, the pushing when you cant run so fast, when youre older it wont be like that.

Recommended Reading: Cure Asthma Without Inhaler

Read Also: What Happens If You Smoke Weed With Asthma

Activity Is Good For Your Asthma

If your asthma is stopping you doing the activities you love, youre not alone. Physical activity can be more challenging when you have asthma.

You might be worried that getting breathless means an asthma attack is on the way, or feel down and frustrated that asthma is stopping you getting fit.

It might help to know that getting your heart rate up can actually improve your asthma symptoms. Heres how:

  • Raising your heart rate regularly boosts your lung power, increasing stamina and reducing breathlessness
  • It supports your immune system and helps fight colds and viruses a major trigger for over 80% of people with asthma
  • Activity helps you stay a healthy weight, in turn cutting your risk of an asthma attack
  • It releases feel-good chemicals in your brain studies show that if youre stressed, or depressed, youre at higher risk of asthma symptoms

If you have severe asthma, please use this exercise advice.

Additional Mechanisms Of Benefit

How Do Doctors Treat Exercise-Induced Asthma?

Apart from psychological and the aforementioned physiological benefit through cardiopulmonary fitness and lung function, findings in human and animal studies suggest that the beneficial effects of exercise training on asthma are mediated by immune and metabolomic pathways.

The immune theory supports that physical activity reduces airway inflammation. It is based on the fact that airway inflammation is a principal feature of asthma shown to lead to increased risk of exacerbation and to increased asthma severity and that exercise training has proven systemic anti-inflammatory effects . Potential mediating mechanisms include reductions in the serum T helper 2 proinflammatory cytokines interleukin -4, IL-5, and IL-6, IL-1316, reductions in the monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 and keratinocyte chemoattractant protein , inhibition of nuclear factor kappa B activation, and increases in the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10, IL-1ra and circulating regulatory T cells. . Increased PADL was also associated with lower systemic inflammation in patients with severe asthma after adjustment for confounders, albeit no associations were found with measures of eosinophilic airway inflammation . Therefore, physical activity may potentially serve as a complementary therapy to target systemic inflammation in asthma .

Read Also: Does Weight Gain Make Asthma Worse

How Does Weight Affect Asthma

Peopleespecially adult womenwho are obese are more likely to develop asthma.2,3 Children and adults who are very overweight are more likely to have persistent asthma and more severe asthma.3 Typical asthma control medications do not work as well in people who are obese.2,5

Some symptoms of obesity overlap with asthma symptoms, making diagnosis difficult. Obesity is linked with lower fitness and feeling breathless. People who are obese are more likely to have GERD , which can cause coughing and chest tightness that is confused with asthma. Obesity is also a risk factor for sleep apnea, which can be difficult to distinguish from asthma.2,3

Can I Prevent Exercise

With planning and preparation, you may be able to avoid an asthma episode. Before physical activity, you should:

  • Allow yourself time to warm up: Before starting any physical activity or exercise, warm up for six to 10 minutes. Warmup routines vary depending on your age, health and sport or activity. Talk to your provider about the right one for you.
  • Check pollen and air quality: Before going outside to exercise, check the air quality index. If pollution and pollen levels are high, you may want to stay indoors.
  • Cover your mouth and nose: Use a mask, scarf or gaiter to protect your airways from cold, dry air.
  • Manage asthma symptoms: If you have asthma, work with your provider to get symptoms under control before you start an exercise program. Follow your providers instructions when using inhalers and taking asthma medications.
  • Tell coaches and teachers: If your child has asthma, make sure teachers and coaches are aware. Adults should know what symptoms to watch for, what to do if symptoms appear and how to help with medications.
  • Watch for symptoms: Monitor yourself for symptoms of sports-induced asthma. Have a plan in place if you notice signs of an EIB episode. Remember that symptoms can appear minutes after you finish exercising.

Also Check: How To Get Rid Of Asthma Without Inhaler

How Does Exercise Trigger Asthma Symptoms

Doctors think they know why some people’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 don’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.

Type Of Exercise How Long It Lasts How Hard You’re Working

Asthma Affects Everyone: Asthma At Every Age

You may find some kinds exercise are harder on your breathing than others. If your asthma is well controlled, you should be able to do every kind of exercise and sport. The one exception is Scuba diving, which is not recommended for people with asthma because it can be dangerous for them.If you find a certain exercise harder to do, you can:Make sure you to a proper warm-up and cool-down.Take it at a slower pace- if other run eight laps during a practice, you can try running five laps.

Recommended Reading: What Can Cause Asthma Exacerbation

How Is Eia Treated

If you have exercise-induced asthma, your doctor might want you to take asthma medicine before being really active. This is often the same quick-relief medicine used for flare-ups. You breathe the medicine directly into your lungs before exercising and it works immediately to open up the airways. Doctors sometimes call this pretreatment.

If pretreatment isn’t enough, your doctor may recommend that you also take daily long-term control medicine. This works over time to help keep the airways open. You need to take it every day, even when you feel well.

Many people find that if they take medicine as prescribed by their doctors, they can work out with few or no problems.

Physical Symptoms Of Asthma

Asthma symptoms and severity vary substantially from person to person. Most people with asthma do not have symptoms constantly. Bothersome asthma symptoms can mean that asthma is not controlled sufficiently or that an acute asthma episode may be starting. Common asthma symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Awakening in the night from coughing or wheezing

If you do not have asthma, you can help yourself imagine what it feels like to have an asthma episode:

  • Run in place for a minute or two, until you can feel your heart start to beat fast. Take a plastic drinking straw and put it in your mouth. Hold your nose closed and continue to breathe through the straw. OR
  • Take a deep breath in and hold it a moment. Now let out about a tenth of the air in your lungs. Breathe back in. Breathe out that same small amount of air. Breathe back in. Repeat until you cant stand it anymore.
  • Read Also: What Two Body Systems Are Affected By Asthma

    Get Help For Special Concerns

    Special things to think about in treating asthma include:

    • Managing exercise-induced asthma. Exercise often causes asthma symptoms. Steps you and your child can take to reduce the risk of this include using medicine immediately before exercising.
    • Managing asthma before surgery. Children with moderate to severe asthma are at higher risk of having problems during and after surgery than children who do not have asthma. Before any surgery is done, make sure your childs surgeon knows that your child has asthma.
    • Taking care of other health problems. If your child also has other health problems, such as inflammation and infection of the sinuses or gastroesophageal reflux disease , he or she will need treatment for those conditions.

    Your Level Of Asthma Control

    Do you suffer from Asthma? 3 exercise to boost your breathing muscles.

    If your asthma is well controlled, your airways will be less sensitive to exercise. You’ll find exercise is less of a trigger for you.If you find exercise makes your breathing a lot worse, it could be a sign that your asthma is not controlled. Tell your doctor about your symptoms and ask how to get your asthma under control.If your asthma is usually well-controlled, but you’ve got a cold, flu, or other respiratory infection, you could be more likely to get symptoms while exercising. If you’ve been sick, pay careful attention to your symptoms. It may be a good idea to exercise less while you’re getting over your chest infection.

    Also Check: Can Cold Weather Affect Asthma

    Exercise Induced Asthma Symptoms

    Up to 85% of asthmatics have symptoms of wheezing during or following exercise. In addition, many non-asthmatic patients with allergies or a family history of allergy experience bronchospasm or constricted airways caused by exercise. Other symptoms include an accelerated heart rate, coughing and chest tightness occurring five to ten minutes after exercise.

    Exposure to cold air and low humidity tends to worsen symptoms since both are thought to increase heat loss from the airways. Nasal blockage worsens exercise related asthma because the inspired air is not humidified and warmed in the nose. Air pollutants , high pollen counts, and viral respiratory tract infections also increase the severity of wheezing following exercise.

    Exercise Induced Asthma That Cause Wheezing:1. Free running 2. Treadmill running4. Swimming

    Testing:1. A patient history is taken2. A breathing test is done while the patient is at rest to determine if the patient has undiagnosed asthma. This test may be repeated after exercise.3. Specialized tests may be performed, which can include cycling, running or using the treadmill to diagnose asthma.

    Treatment:1. Careful selection of exercise activities such as walking, light jogging, leisure biking, and hiking may aid those who cannot tolerate strenuous outdoor running sports.

    3. Athletes should restrict exercising when they have viral infections, when pollen and air pollution levels are high, or when temperatures are extremely low.

    How Do I Manage Exercise

    There is no cure for asthma triggered by exercising or sports. Treatment focuses on preventing and relieving symptoms.

    To avoid an episode, you should warm up for at least six minutes before starting exercise. Ask your provider to recommend the best warmup routine for your age and fitness level.

    Your provider may recommend one medication or a combination of several medications. Some drugs open your airways while youre experiencing exercise-induced asthma. Other medications prevent an episode. These medications include:

    Read Also: Dupixent Asthma Dosing

    How Do You Treat Exercise

    • Is struggling to breathe
    • Canââ¬â¢t walk or talk
    • Shows other signs of a severe attack

    1. Stop the activity.

    • Have the person sit down and rest.

    2. Follow the personââ¬â¢s asthma plan, if possible.

    • Find out if the person has an individualized asthma action plan from a doctor.
    • If so, follow its directions.

    3. Give asthma first aid.

    4. Resume activity when itââ¬â¢s safe.

    • Wait until the person can breathe easily and is symptom-free before resuming exercise.
    • If symptoms return when person starts exercise again, repeat treatment and stop exercise for rest of day.

    5. Follow up.

    How Can I Make Sure My Child Is Safe While Playing Sports

    Managing Your Child

    Your child should have a written Asthma Action Plan. The Asthma Action Plan should describe signs and symptoms of worsening asthma, and say who to call and when. Be sure that your childs coach has a copy of the Asthma Action Plan. Discuss the plan with the coach at the start of each season. Tell the coach what triggers your childs asthma and be sure that information is also in the Asthma Action Plan.

    If asthma symptoms flare up, it is important that your child has quick and easy access to his or her rescue inhaler. Make sure your child has the inhaler close by and knows how to use it.

    Read Also: How To Help Your Asthma Without An Inhaler


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