How Does Exercising Trigger Asthma
When exercising we breathe in and out rapidly. It gets to the point our turbinates cannot keep up. Making this worse is when we revert to breathing. Many of us breathe through our mouths when exercising. This is because our mouths offer less resistance to inhaled air. Mouth breathing makes breathing easier.
Of course, when youre doing this your nose is bypassed. Cold and dry air cannot be properly warmed and humidified. Airway cells have to work overtime to warm and humidify this inhaled air. Such rapid changes inside cells cause them to release mediators of inflammation, such as histamine and leukotrienes. These mediators cause airway inflammation.
Of course, asthmatic airways are already somewhat inflamed. So, sensory neurons in airway tissue are already sensitized they are already hypersensitive. They respond by causing smooth muscles wrapped around airways to spasm and constrict. This causes airways to become abnormally narrow.4-6
When this happens, its diagnosed as Exercise Induced Asthma . This is something that affects over 80% of asthmatics. 5-7
Exercise can trigger asthma at any time. But, as the air gets colder, this risk increases. There is no set temperature listed in literature where your risk for EIA starts to increase. Based on my own experience with this, I tend to go with 50°F. If its warmer than 50°F I exercise outside if I want. If its less than 50°F I exercise indoors. I work out at home or at the health club.
Role Of The Upper Airways In Health And Asthma
Breathing cold air has been long recognized to trigger bronchoconstriction in asthmatics. In a classical experiment Shturman-Ellstein et al. demonstrated that if subjects with asthma breathed only through the nose during the exercise challenge, an almost complete inhibition of the post exercise bronchoconstrictive airway response was observed . However, as the nose is serving as outermost filter for the inspired air, it is exposed to environmental hazards with consequent high frequency of morbidity. Adding to the atopic predisposition, it is likely that asthmatic subjects have concomitant rhinitis, which does not allow proper conditioning of the inspired air with negative impact on the asthmatic condition. The cross-talk and interplay between upper and lower airways has been a center point in the philosophy of the Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma initiative and has been reconfirmed over the years .
In buildings with natural ventilation, the outside air penetrates through existing openings in the building enclosure, such as joints or cracks in the walls, intersect around the doors and through the opening of doors and windows. The outside air can be introduced in a closed environment through mechanical, or forced, ventilation system that can also perform the functions of heating or cooling the air inlet, depending on the season .
Get Support To Quit Smoking
Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your winter health. Now is the best time, as winter brings an increase in the risk of complications like chest infections, heart attacks and stroke.
Youre more likely to quit for good with the support of a local stop smoking service. See the help you can get.
Give us a call on 03000 030 555 if youd like more advice. Our friendly helpline team is available Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm. They can also talk to you about extra help you might be entitled to during cold weather, such as winter fuel payments.
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Why Does Cold Air Affect Asthma Symptoms
It is well-known that being exposed to cold weather may trigger asthma.
The amount of water vapor in the air is directly related to the temperature of the air. Warm and hot air holds much more water vapor than cold air. In cold weather, water vapor condenses on solid surfaces, leading to the development of frost on the ground and thin sheets of ice on concrete surfaces and pavement. This is because the cold air loses the water vapor it holds to condensation on these hard surfaces. The end result is that cold air is very dry air, having very little water vapor within it.
When someone with asthma goes outdoors in cold weather, their lungs are exposed to not only cold air but very dry air. As the air is inspired into the lungs, it warms. When warmed in the lungs, this air can suddenly hold much more water vapor. Unfortunately, this water vapor comes from the lungs of the person inhaling the cold dry air. The end result for an asthmatic is that the airways lose water to the air which is inspired. This leaves the airways very dry.
With exercise, you breathe in and out much greater quantities of air. For the asthmatic, this breathing in and out of very dry air removes moisture from the lining cells of the lungs, also known as the respiratory epithelial cells. This results in these cells becoming dry and dehydrated.
Bring Your Inhaler With You
This goes without saying, but many folks forget theirs, especially when it starts to get nicer in early spring.
Carrying your rescue inhaler is recommended, and for those that are on maintenance inhalers, taking them as prescribed and practicing proper inhaler technique is necessary to get the most out of your inhaler, says Dr. Lan. If you feel your inhaler is not working and you have not been taught how to properly use your inhaler, ask your medical provider or pharmacist to show you how to use it.
Is Cold Air Good For Asthma
Cold air is bad for most people with asthma as it tends to irritate the bronchial tubes and trigger asthma symptoms.
If you have asthma, it may be best for you to stay indoors as much as possible during cold winter weather. Be sure to monitor indoor air quality and install HEPA filters in your ventilation systems. Watch for signs of mold and remove it as quickly as possible. Install dust mite-proof pillows and mattress covers in your bedding. Consider buying an air purifier or air cleaner to help remove pet dander and other allergens from your indoor air.
Modern homes have better windows and insulation. They are less drafty and conserve heat better. But that means bedding, furniture, carpets and curtains can hold on to moisture, encouraging dust mites to breed. Keep your home below 50% humidity and use dehumidifiers to help keep dust mites from breeding. When the weather allows, open your windows for one hour per day to reduce humidity in the house.
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How Winter Can Affect Asthma
Asthma symptoms can worsen in different environments and may vary with the seasons, and winter is no exception. Aside from dry, cold winter weather irritating airways, more time spent indoors means more exposure to indoor irritants . Winter can also bring an increased risk of viruses that can aggravate your asthma.
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How Can We Avoid Weather Triggers
Once you know what kind of weather triggers asthma symptoms, try these tips to protect your child:
- Watch the forecast for pollen and mold counts plus other conditions that might affect your child’s asthma.
- Limit your child’s outdoor activities on peak trigger days.
- Make sure your child wears a scarf over the mouth and nose when outside in very cold weather.
- Keep windows closed at night to keep pollen and molds out. If it’s hot, use air conditioning, which cleans, cools, and dries the air.
- Keep your child indoors early in the morning when pollen is at its highest.
- Your child shouldn’t mow the lawn or rake leaves, and should be kept away from freshly cut grass and leaf piles.
- Dry clothes in the dryer .
- Make sure your child always has quick-relief medicine on hand.
Your child’s written asthma action plan should list weather triggers and ways to manage them, including any seasonal changes in medicine.
The Link Between Winter And Asthma
There are several reasons why cold weather is particularly challenging for those who suffer from asthma.
The biggest one that comes to mind is infection rates, says Dr. Canfield.
Certain viruses, including the flu, and illnesses such as upper respiratory infections are more frequent in winter. We tend to spend more time indoors, which means were in close contact with others who may expose us to these contagions, thus potentially worsening asthmas bronchial symptoms.
A host of allergens poses another threat when we hunker down inside and keep the windows closed. Seemingly innocuous things like pet dander and house dust to more problematic issues like mold can worsen or trigger asthma symptoms. Airways of the lungs can become inflamed and swollen, and asthma sufferers may experience increased coughing and wheezing.
Getting allergy tested and getting the advice of an allergist is helpful, says Dr. Canfield. Its important for people to know if they have allergic triggers to their asthma and how to avoid those.
There are specific things you can do around the house to limit your exposure, such as using allergen-proof bedding and covers, avoiding excessive humidifying, and ensuring proper ventilation in your home.
Threats dont solely exist indoors, however.
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The Impact Of Heat On Asthma
There are a number of reasons why people like you and me, people with asthma, dont love summer heat. Everyones asthma is different, and whether you have an allergic type of asthma vs. non-allergic, can also have an effect.
Some people are more affected by hot, humid air, while others feel the impact more from hot, dry air. Or, it could just be the extreme changes in environmental conditions that make the biggest effect. 1 For example, moving from a hot, humid day outside into a cool, air-conditioned building. Some people might welcome the relief, while asthmatics might experience an asthma attack as a result of the radical difference in air temperature.
Its not that heat triggers any different asthma symptoms. Its just that it can make what youre already dealing with even worse. The question is, why does heat affect some of us in this way?
The Danger Of Cold Weather And Copd
Winter is coming. Heres what you need to know.
For anyone who suffers from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease , cold weather conditions can often bring out the worst symptoms. Cold temperatures can regularly lead to fatigue, and even windy days can cause shortness of breath. Its no secret that many suffering from the disease have found their symptoms become aggravated during colder weather. The effect of cold temperatures on respiratory health has been the subject of study for quite some time, and researchers have even found direct links between cold weather and COPD hospital admissions.
With your health in mind, the Lung Health Institute is here to provide you with the information you need to avoid the danger of cold weather and COPD so that you stay healthy this winter.
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Why Does Cold Weather Make My Asthma Worse
When its cold, the air is colder and drier
Breathing in dry, cold air irritates your airways. Your lungs then react to this by becoming tighter and this makes it more difficult to breathe.
Our bodies are designed to respond to changes in air temperature. However, some people are more sensitive to changes in temperature and may have a stronger reaction, which includes asthma symptoms that are set off by cold air. The good news is, your asthma is less likely to be triggered by cold weather if its well controlled.
You can also help yourself by trying to breathe through your nose more, rather than just your mouth. This is because when you breathe through your nose, cold air is warmed up by passing through your nose, throat and then your upper airways. If you just breathe through your mouth, this warming up process doesnt happen, which means the cold air dries out the moisture in your lungs.
Cold air makes you produce more mucus
When its cold, you might produce more mucus than you normally would.
This is because when cold air enters your nose, the vessels in your nasal cavity get bigger and congested, which causes more mucus to be produced. This extra mucus is produced because your body is trying to create perfect conditions, by adding warmth and humidity, while also filtering the air thats going into your body. This extra mucus is why you can get a runny nose in winter.
Cold weather brings colds and flu
Cold weather forces us indoors
Why Asthma Can Be Worse In Winter And Steps To Manage Attacks
Asthma is a chronic condition that affects nearly 25 million people in America. Its a respiratory disease that makes breathing difficult and often comes with lung spasms, wheezing, and chest tightness.
Your lungs are made of bronchi that transport air to and from your lungs. If you have asthma, your airways are easily inflamed. Inflamed airways swell, closing your breathing passages and making it hard for air to reach your lungs.
Changes in your environment like weather, dust, and smoke can make your lungs extra sensitive. For many asthmatics, winter weather brings more frequent asthma attacks. The doctors at Wasatch Peak Family Practice can help you find an asthma treatment plan that works with your lifestyle.
One of the best things you can do to prevent and manage asthma attacks in winter is to understand your triggers and know your treatment plan. Let us help you understand your asthma and how to control it.
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Why Can Cold Air Trigger Asthma
People with asthma have airways that are more sensitive, and prone to inflammation. Cold air can lead to dryness in the airways, the tightening of the muscles around the airways and impair the normal function of the airways to clear inhaled substances. All of this can lead to an increase in asthma symptoms.
In Australia, we are generally used to breathing warm, humid air which is what our lungs need to stay vital and healthy and clear debris that we breathe in.
Cold and dry air conditions make it harder for our lungs to do the things it needs to in order to make our breathing easy and keep us healthy.
Why Does Cold Weather Act As An Asthma Trigger For Some People
The airways of people with asthma can become inflamed and make it more difficult to breathe.
This is especially noticeable when exercising in the cold.
Researchers believe this is due to the dual impact of the cold and dry air on the airways, plus the bodys increased need for oxygen during sport.
They point to people breathing in more through their mouth when exercising, instead of through their noses.
This is important because breathing through the nose can warm, filter and humidify the air before it gets to the airways in the lungs.
But when people breathe through their mouths, it goes straight to the lungs and is unfiltered, colder and drier.
Asthma Australia Senior Educator Gemma Crawley says breathing in cold, dry and potentially unfiltered air can dry out the airway, increasing irritation and sensitivity.
This can lead to tightening of the muscle around the airway, and this generates asthma symptoms, she says.
There are also often more viruses around in winter. This year, of course, we are experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the normal flu season, both of which impact the respiratory system, causing severe outcomes for some people.
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Can Cold Air Cause An Asthma Attack
If your asthma is severe and cold air is a trigger, then you are at risk for an asthma attack in cold weather. Consult your Asthma Action Plan to manage asthma in cold weather. You should always seek medical attention if symptoms worsen.
To keep cold air from causing an asthma flare:
What Types Of Treatments May Be Given For Uncontrolled Asthma Symptoms
When asthma is at its worst, you may have additional symptoms such as feeling anxious, having an increased heart rate and rapid breathing.
You may be given treatments such as oxygen therapy and bronchodilators. These are medicines that help you breathe easier and open up your airways. You may also be given steroids to help get the inflammation in your airways under control.
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Spending More Time Inside Can Trigger Asthma
Cold air can trigger an asthma attack, so many people with asthma avoid going outside in the winter. But indoor air isnt necessarily better. Indoor air can be filled with dust, dander, and mold that can cause asthma attacks, too.
Indoor air is often warm and dry, and central heating systems circulate cold and flu viruses through offices and schools. Dry air irritates your airways, leaving you susceptible to an asthma attack.
Your body naturally produces mucus to line and protect your sinuses, throat, lungs, and more from drying out. It keeps your airways moist, but dry air can make it evaporate quickly and lead to irritation. Once your airways are inflamed, they swell up and make it hard to breathe.
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Cold And Air Pollution
Climate change and air pollution due to anthropogenic activities are intrinsically connected with many greenhouse gases and particulate air pollutants originate from the same source, such as fossil fuel combustion .
Nitrate particles and organic carbon aerosols have a cooling effect on the climate. Sulfur dioxide partly converts to sulfate particles, which also have cooling potential, so they partly react with black carbon, neutralizing its strong warming effect .
There is no universal numerical value of air temperature that can be accepted as cut-off point for cold. It is rather the magnitude of downward temperature change below the mean seasonal range for a given area that challenges the adaptive ability of people. Mortality increased to a greater extent with given fall of temperature in regions with warm winters, in populations with cooler homes, and among people who wore fewer clothes and were less active outdoors. As adaptive capacity shrinks with age, it is the elderly who are mostly affected. Thus, it has been documented that cold temperatures are associated with a 34% increase in daily mortality and hospitalization for respiratory causes in the population over 75 years old for each degree Celsius decrease in minimum temperature or minimum apparent temperature .
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