How To Lower Your Risk Of Asthma Symptoms When Exercising
If exercise triggers your asthma symptoms, its usually a sign that your asthma is not as well controlled as it could be. You can lower your risk of symptoms when you exercise by:
- Using your preventer inhaler every day as prescribed
- Seeing your GP or asthma nurse to review your asthma.
Get more advice on exercising safely and motivation to stay active.;
Using your preventer inhalerevery day
Using your preventer inhaler every day can lower your risk of asthma symptoms triggered by exercise.
Your preventer inhaler works in the background to prevent your airways from getting too inflamed. This means your airways are less likely to react when you exercise.;
A good preventer inhaler routine can also lower your risk of symptoms triggered by pollen, pollution, or dust when youre exercising.;
Seeing your GP or asthma nurse
Your GP or asthma nurse can support you to manage your asthma well so you can feel confident about exercising. ;
A few people whose asthma is triggered by exercise may be told to use their reliever inhaler before they start exercising. For some people, this can help stop symptoms from coming on.
How To Know If You Have Exercise
If youve already been diagnosed with asthma, you might not need further testing to confirm your symptoms are EIB. If you dont have asthma? Youll likely perform an exercise challenge: A doctor measures how much air you can inhale and exhale, and how quickly you can do it before and after working out on a treadmill or stationary bike.
If youre experiencing airway narrowing, the volume of air that you can forcibly exhale will drop and you can see that easily on a test, says Taliercio.
Managing Your Asthma & Exercising
Once you and your healthcare provider have established what your exercise regimen should be, keep the following in mind:
- Follow your prescribed treatment plan and take your controller medication
- Take your medication before starting to exercise if advised, and always carry your reliever medication.
- Start your regimen slowly. Take your time before attempting more demanding exercises.
- Always warm up before exercising, and cool down after.
- If you develop symptoms while you are exercising, stop and rest. Take your reliever medication.
- If you usually exercise outdoors and its cold out, op for indoor exercise.
- If you usually exercise outdoors and the pollution or pollen counts are high, exercise indoors instead. You can check the Air Quality Healthy Index before planning to exercise outdoors.
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Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes
Care coordination between primary care providers, pulmonologists, ENT, sports medicine practitioners, and coaches is required to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment of Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. Sports coaches play an important role in identifying athletes who are experiencing symptoms during the practice or who express a desire to quit the sport due to poor fitness, as it can be a sign of EIB. The education of coaches is important to ensure adherence to face protection from cold, dry air, exposure to pollutants, particulate matter, and allergens during practice. Coaches can also work with school administration to ensure practice locations and pool chemicals are safe for practice. Primary care sports medicine practitioners may be the first contact for athletes with symptoms. Proper testing for diagnosis is required as clinical symptoms are not sensitive or specific, and some patients are asymptomatic. Differential diagnosis includes the entire airway, and each part may contribute to symptoms requiring referral to an otolaryngologist. Coordination with pulmonology for testing may be required. Pulmonology may already be involved in asthma management in hard to control patients. Communication and coordination will lead to an optimal diagnosis, treatment, treatment adherence, and control of bronchoconstriction, allowing patients to participate in an activity as they desire.
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How Is Eia Diagnosed
A doctor will ask about the family’s asthma and allergy history and about the symptoms and what has triggered them in the past.
After taking a medical history and doing a physical exam, the doctor may ask your child to take a breathing test after exercising. This can be done in the office on a treadmill, after your child runs outside for 6 to 8 minutes, or after doing an activity that’s triggered flare-ups in the past.
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How Do I Know If I Have Exercise
You may experience cough, wheeze, a feeling of tightness or discomfort in the chest, breathlessness, and/or excessive mucus production. These symptoms often appear or get worse 5-10 minutes after exercise and so you may not see a drop in your performance whilst exercising.
About 50% of people will have what is called a refractory period following exercise. What this means is that once they have recovered from one episode of EIB then they may not experience another episode of EIB for 2-3 hours even if they exercise again.
It is important to remember that any episode of shortness of breath or chest pain or discomfort, especially associated with exercise, must always be investigated by a doctor as soon as possible as there are other causes of these symptoms some of which may be very serious.
How To Not Let Exercise
Everyone knows how it feels to struggle through a workout when your lungs are basically shrieking that you should just stop and go back to bed. But if working out always makes your lungs feel like youre in the ninth circle of hell, you might actually have exercise-induced asthma. Heres how you can spot the symptoms, plus expert-approved tips on managing exercise-induced asthma even if youre a workout fiend.
Asthma happens when the airways in your lungs narrow and produce excess mucus to the point where you experience issues like coughing, a whistling sound when you breathe , chest tightness and pain, and shortness of breath, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute . Some people only experience this domino effect while theyre working out, which is when exercise-induced asthma enters the picture.
Experts actually often refer to exercise-induced asthma with the more specific name exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. This is to clarify that while strenuous exercise may trigger the airways in your lungs to narrow , its not actually an underlying cause of asthma, according to the Mayo Clinic.
These symptoms can start just a few minutes into a workout session, but like with most illnesses, everyone is different. Ive had patients be well into exercise and then they cant function, Raymond Casciari, M.D., a pulmonologist at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif., tells SELF.
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How To Diagnose Exercise
If you think you may have exercise-induced asthma, you should make an appointment to see your doctor. Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and when they happen and may use exercise testing to detect evidence of bronchoconstriction. These measure changes in your lung function after exercise, as follows:
- Lung tests: using spirometry to measure your lung function before and five, 10, 15 and 30 minutes after exercise.
- Exercise challenge tests: monitoring your peak flow before and after your normal exercise you might be asked to do this yourself over a few weeks at home.
- Alternative challenge tests: You may be asked to exercise intensively under supervision at the same time as challenging your lungs by breathing dry air through a facemask, by inhaling methacholine or by hyperventilating. This is called bronchoprovocation testing. Spirometry will be used to measure your lung function before and after.
If these tests confirm bronchoconstriction, your doctor will need to decide whether you have:
- poorly controlled asthma that is triggered by exercise
- well-controlled asthma with exercise-induced bronchoconstriction
- exercise-induced bronchoconstriction.
There is an overlap and misdiagnosis in this area. How you respond to treatment will give clues to the diagnosis.
Learn more about how asthma is diagnosed.
You Struggle To Run Long Distances
Do you enjoy going for 10-mile runs? That will change if you develop exercise-induced asthma. The deep breathing that running requires, plus the sheer distance, can decrease your endurance if your airways are constricted. Youre not going to be able to run as long or as far, Dr. Ogden says. Your symptoms will kick in before the runnings over and youll find yourself struggling. In that situation, meds or an inhaler can help you power through runs from a 5K to a marathon Here are some training tips for beginners who want to run a marathon. Regardless of your symptom or your environment, seeing an asthma and allergy specialist for an evaluation will set you on the road to relief.
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Meds For Long Term Management
In the case of a chronic condition, the typical exercise-induced asthma medication will be focused on drugs for long-term usage. They will curb the condition and help you manage the symptoms. Such medications are often administered daily, like:
Combination inhalers;are designed to loosen up the airways and are often meant to be used before any physical activity. They can provide relief for chest tightness and wheeziness.
Inhaled corticosteroids are intended to stifle the irritation in the airways. The formula will immediately enter the lungs and hinder any inflammatory functions that result in asthma.;
Leukotriene modifiers;are pharmaceuticals usually used in case of allergies. They can stop the leukotrienes, the substances released in the human body from the mast cells that produce airway obstruction, swelling, irritation, or mucus.;
Meds Used Before Exercise
Athletic induced asthma treatments for non-chronic cases will focus on minimizing the symptoms and preventing EIA. These medications include:
Ipratropium is a typical medication used to make the airways a little bit wider. Thats how it relieves the obstruction in the lungs.;
Short-acting meds help to calm the airway lining and allow it to carry the air with ease. However, a patient could develop tolerance.;
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Why Do People Experience Athletic Induced Asthma
When you are trying to breathe air normally, the first wave will go through the nostrils and give off a warm feeling. The air is supposed to get inhaled through the nose. But, if you breathe through the mouth instead, you become vulnerable to dry and cold air.
During workouts, most people breathe through the mouth. This is a common tendency. The more complicated the exercises, the more cold and dry air you are going to breathe in. EIA makes the airway muscles overly sensitive to the cold and dry air. As a result, they begin to contract, making it very difficult to keep breathing, explains WebMD.
What Other Conditions Feel Like Exercise
Other conditions have symptoms similar to exercise-induced asthma. Some of these arent serious, while others need medical attention.
- Being out of shape. If you havent exercised in a while, then getting a little bit of exercise can make you feel out of breath quite easily. This is different from exercise-induced asthma, however. If your symptoms go away quickly when you stop exercising, theyre more likely due to being out of shape than exercise-induced asthma. If youre just getting back into exercise, start slowly. Take time to warm up, and listen to your body. If you arent sure, talk to your doctor.
- Chest pain /heart troubles. Chest pain can be a symptom of asthma. But it can also be a sign that you are having trouble with your heart. If you have chest pain when you exercise , talk to your doctor right away.
- Exercise-induced laryngospasm. Sometimes, exercise can cause a temporary spasm of your vocal cords. This can feel like exercise-induced asthma, because you might experience difficulty breathing, coughing, and chest pain. But exercise-induced laryngospasm starts fast and goes away quickly when you stop exercising. It only affects air flowing into your lungs, not out of your lungs, often causing a strange noise to your in-breath. Asthma medicines like albuterol wont help with laryngospasm. This condition is usually diagnosed based on symptoms. But sometimes a provider may use a camera test to look at your vocal cords while you exercise.
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Asthma Isnt An Excuse Not To Work Out
- Warm up and cool down before exercising. This will help you lungs get acclimated to the air.
- Avoid working out during cold weather. If you do, cover your mouth and nose.
- Avoid working out when you have a cold or viral infection.
- Always use your inhaler or prescribed medication before you work out.
You shouldnt use EIB as an excuse not to work out and get exercise. Its likely possible as long as you work with your doctor, find a regimen that works for you and take any medication as necessary, said EXPERT.;Dr. Navitha Ramesh is a pulmonologist at Geisinger Wyoming Valley. To schedule an appointment, call 800-275-6401.
Geisinger Health Plan may refer collectively to Geisinger Health Plan, Geisinger Quality Options Inc., and Geisinger Indemnity Insurance Company, unless otherwise noted. Geisinger Gold Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO, and HMO D-SNP plans are offered by Geisinger Health Plan/Geisinger Indemnity Insurance Company, health plans with a Medicare contract. Continued enrollment in Geisinger Gold depends on annual contract renewal. Geisinger Health Plan Kids and Geisinger Health Plan Family are offered by Geisinger Health Plan in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services . Geisinger Health Plan is part of Geisinger, an integrated health care delivery and coverage organization.
Exercising With Eib: A Personalized Game Plan
Whether or not you’ve already been diagnosed with asthma, experiencing any or all of these symptoms during exercise should prompt a trip to the doctor. Without treatment, you may not be able to exercise as much as you want or need to. Yet with the correct diagnosis and treatment plan and slight adjustments to your exercise routine, such as warming up, cooling down, and avoiding your triggers , you can keep symptoms in check during your workout.
EIB usually can be well-controlled with a regular medication regimen. “For the majority of people with asthma, using daily preventative medication and albuterol two puffs, 15 to 30 minutes pre-exercise is very effective,” Goldsobel says. If that doesn’t work, you’ll want to explore other options with your doctor.
If you manage your exercise-induced bronchospasm, you should be able to pursue an active, healthy lifestyle without letting your asthma symptoms hold you back.
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How To Diagnose The Condition
If you believe you are experiencing severe breathing issues, you should consult with your doctor, advises the Mayo Clinic. They will analyze you with a medical exam. First, they will assess your lungs to rule out any underlying health problems that could be the reason for your symptoms.;
The doctor will probably use spirometry that will test the way your lungs are working when you are breathing. They will assess the exhaling rate and the amount of air you get when you inhale. With it, they can detect any obstructive abnormalities.;
Afterwards, you are most likely going to receive an inhaled medication known as the bronchodilator. Its meant to open up the lungs. You may have to re-do the test so that the physician can compare the final measurements.;
Do I Have To Stop Exercising If I Have Exercise
While it may seem like having exercise-induced asthma means you cant be an athlete, this isnt true at all. In fact, as many as 30% to 70% of elite and Olympic athletes have this diagnosis.
Talk to your doctor about exercising or playing sports if you have exercise-induced asthma. Staying active and competing in sports are important parts of life. Its worth making sure you can do them safely.
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Can You Die From Exercise
Asthma is dangerous. In the wrong situation, exercise-induced asthma can be life-threatening.;
Talk to your doctor if you develop chest tightness or difficulty breathing anytime, but especially during exercise. You can take medications to keep exercise-induced asthma from happening and to stop the symptoms once they start.
It Takes You A While To Recover From A Workout
If you have exercise-induced asthma, recovery times after exercise can range from 30 minutes to a full hour, depending on the severity of the condition, advises Dr. Ogden. Ask your doctor about getting a short-acting inhaler to use 15 minutes before exercising. If this doesnt help, you may have regular asthma and need daily medication. Try these foods that can prevent asthma symptoms.
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You Blew That Big Competition
Off your game and dont know why? EIB could be making you winded and affecting your athletic performance. The good news is, you can still play your favorite sports. Even Olympic athletes can compete with exercise-induced asthma. It doesnt have to ruin your life and your exercise, Dr. Ogden says, but until you get treatment, it can absolutely limit what you do and change your game. Read how this woman keeps exercising despite her exercise-induced asthma.
What Types Of Medicines Treat Or Prevent Eib
There are three types of medicines to prevent or treat the symptoms of EIB. Your health care provider can help you find the best treatment program for you based on your asthma history and the type of activity.
- Short-acting beta agonist / bronchodilator : This medication can prevent symptoms when taken 10 to 15 minutes before exercise. It will help prevent symptoms for up to four hours. This same medication can also treat and reverse the symptoms of EIB should they occur.
- Long-acting bronchodilator: This needs to be taken 30 to 60 minutes before activity and only once within a 12-hour period. Salmeterol can help prevent EIB symptoms for 10 to 12 hours. This medication is for preventing symptoms. It does not offer any quick relief, so it not for treating symptoms once they begin.
- Mast cell stabilizers: Cromolyn sodium or nedocromil sodium need to be taken 15 to 20 minutes before exercise. These medications may also help to prevent the late phase reaction of EIB that some people experience. These medications are only for preventing EIB because they do not relieve symptoms once they begin. Some individuals use one of these medicines in combination with a short-acting bronchodilator.
If you have frequent symptoms with usual activity or exercise, talk to your doctor. An increase in your long-term control medications may help. Long-term control medicines, such as inhaled steroids, can help EIB.
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