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When Beginning An Exercise Program People With Asthma Should Always

The Differences Between Childhood And Adult

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National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute , asthma affects more than 25 million people in the United States, or about 8 percent of the population. Seven million of them are children.

Asthma is common in childhood, but you can develop it at any point in your life. Its not uncommon for people over the age of 50 to be diagnosed with this lung disorder.

Childhood asthma and adult-onset asthma have the same symptoms, and both have similar treatments. However, children with asthma face different challenges.

Many cases of adult-onset asthma are triggered by allergies. Allergens are substances that can cause an immune reaction in people who are sensitive to them.

Children with allergies may not experience asthma from exposure to allergens when they are younger. Yet over time, their bodies can change and react differently. This can lead to adult-onset asthma.

According to the American Lung Association, of the estimated 7 million children in the United States with asthma, more than 4 million experience an asthma attack each year. Asthma is the third leading cause of hospitalizations of American children age 15 and younger. Fortunately, asthma-related deaths in children are quite rare.

If you suspect your childs symptoms are the result of asthma, make an appointment with their doctor. Untreated childhood asthma may have lasting impacts.

How Does Exercising With Asthma Cause Symptoms

Your nose normally protects your lungs from many potential asthma triggers. When breathing normally, air enters your lungs through the nose, which warms the air and filters some triggers from getting to the lungs. When you exercise, your body needs more air, and you begin to breathe through your mouth. Your mouth does not warm, humidify, or filter air. As a result, exercising with asthma can increase your risk of trigger exposure.

Staying Active With Asthma

  • 1Talk to your doctor and see her regularly. Whenever you have a chronic condition, it’s important to speak to your doctor regularly and follow-up. With asthma, it’s important to talk to your doctor about incorporating physical activity in a safe manner.
  • If you are not currently active, talk to your doctor about the appropriate way to include exercise in your weekly routine. Ask if there are activities you should avoid or if you should stick to any time limits.
  • Many doctors will also give you some tips on how to exercise safely and comfortably. For example, they may suggest swimming as a good exercise for you due to the humidity of the air.
  • 2Take your medications regularly. Asthma generally requires that you take medications regularly. Although there are no medications or procedures that can cure asthma, consistent medication use can prevent symptoms and provide a better quality of life.XTrustworthy SourceAmerican Lung AssociationNonprofit health organization dedicated to improving lung health through education, advocacy, and researchGo to source
  • Many asthma medications work as you build up the medication in your body over time. Missing doses or being inconsistent can increase your risk of having symptoms or having an asthma attack. It is important that you follow the instructions and take your long-acting medications regularly to help prevent exacerbations, in addition to using your rescue inhaler for attacks.
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    Health Benefits Of Exercise Programs

    An exercise program that is tailored specifically to your needs is a great way to stay physically and mentally fit. It also provides additional benefits such as:

    • improved condition of the heart and lungs
    • increased muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness
    • increased aerobic fitness
    • improved muscle tone and strength
    • weight management
    • better coordination, agility and flexibility
    • improved balance and spatial awareness
    • increased energy levels
    • reduced risk of chronic disease
    • improved sleep
    • improved brain function and health
    • improved general and psychological wellbeing
    • greater self-confidence and self-esteem
    • improved social life.

    You May Need To Visit Your Doctor Before Starting Physical Activity

    Before Beginning An Exercise Program A Person Should ...

    If you answer yes to some of the questions from the adult pre-exercising screening tool, see a doctor before starting physical activity. These questions include:

    • Has your doctor ever told you that you have a heart condition or have you ever suffered a stroke?
    • Do you ever experience unexplained pains in your chest at rest or during physical activity and exercise?
    • Do you ever feel faint or have spells of dizziness during physical activity and exercise that causes you to lose balance?
    • Have you had an asthma attack requiring immediate medical attention at any time over the last 12 months?
    • If you have diabetes , have you had trouble controlling your blood glucose in the last three months?
    • Do you have any diagnosed muscle, bone or joint problems that you have been told could be made worse by participating in physical activity or exercise?
    • Do you have any other medical condition that may make it dangerous for you to participate in physical activity or exercise?

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    Start Physical Activity Gently

    If you are currently inactive or feel your fitness level is low, it is highly recommended that you consult a health or exercise professional before commencing activity. Otherwise, start gently with a short session of an activity that you feel you can manage. Build your confidence and fitness level with a number of short sessions.

    Exercise progression is unique to every person, so if you have not exercised for some time, progress slowly. Increase the length and the intensity of your exercise session gradually. Dont push yourself straight away. Injury or discomfort can occur and this may reduce your motivation levels.

    Being Different And Being Limited By Asthma

    Participants described their everyday life as being limited by asthma. Their asthma restricted their participation in PA because they became rapidly exhausted. One of the participants said:I always have to stoptobreathe

    Asthma was described as the reason for not attending physical education classes and as something that causes pain in the chest and heart. According to the participants, having asthma and using medications were associated with unwanted attention. The children described how parents alternated between a minimum focus on asthma and medication and then challenging their independence:Occasionally she somewhat disagreesif I say it went well , she suddenly says no, it might have gone badly, even if it went well.

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    Asthma Is A Complex Condition

    Occasionally, people with asthma experience what are known as silent symptoms. This is where the signs of the tightening of the airways dont result in the familiar asthma sounds of wheezing and coughing. If you or someone you live with, work with, or care for experiences silent symptoms, it is important they consult a doctor for an ongoing Asthma Action Plan. People around the person with asthmasuch as co-workers, school teachers or daycare educators should know about the silent symptoms so they can respond if needed. Asthma can start at any age, and can be more of a problem when it starts in older adults. Dont assume if you never had asthma as a child that its not possible to develop symptoms now. Being breathless is not a normal part of getting older, it should always be checked out by a doctor.

    Do You Always Need To Use An Inhaler When Working Out

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    In short, no. But if you do feel tightness in your lungs, not just shortness of breath, Dr. Kanarek recommends taking a daily inhaler with a steroid medication to stop the exercise-induced asthma flare-ups.

    Using a daily inhaler will prevent scarring of the lungs, improve lung function, and allow for normal activity, he says.

    Consult with your doctor about the best plan of action to reduce your wheezing while working out.

    If you are concerned about your lung capacity during exercise, Dr. Kanarek suggests you ask your doctor to perform a spirometry to measures your lung function.

    Also ask for a nitrous oxide test to evaluate inflammation of your lungs. Both tests will help determine if you might benefit from a daily medication or if you should stick to using a rescue inhaler on a need-be basis.

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    The Role Of Relievers

    If your doctor has given you a physical examination and determined that you have exercise-induced asthma they may recommend that you use your reliever medication 10 to 20 minutes before you begin exercising. This can help reduce the likelihood that symptoms associated with exercise-induced asthma will flare up.

    What Sports Commonly Cause Asthma Symptoms

    If you have sports-induced asthma, you may want to choose certain activities over others. Endurance sports and activities that take place in colder temperatures are more likely to trigger symptoms. Thats because cold, dry air can constrict the airways and trigger symptoms of asthma.

    Sports that are most likely to trigger symptoms of asthma:

    • Require constant physical exertion: Long-distance running, soccer, basketball and other endurance sports require you to breathe heavily and constantly with little rest.
    • Take place in colder weather: Skiing, ice hockey, ice skating and snowboarding commonly cause symptoms due to colder air temperatures.

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    Whats The Difference Between Asthma And Exercise

    Asthma is a disease where the bronchioles open and close, which makes your chest tight, says Kanarek.

    The number one trigger for asthmatics is a virus or cold. So, its possible to not feel any effects of asthma while exercising.

    But 70-90 percent of people suffering from chronic asthma experience exercise-induced asthma.

    Symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest tightness, coughing, and wheezing, are triggered by physical activity.

    We know exercise helps the lungs and body. When we workout, we improve blood flow and increase lung functions.

    Swimming, jogging, or riding a bike are all great options for those with asthma, says Kanarek. But what about those with asthma triggered by exercise?

    Talk to your doctor about your specific symptoms and their severity. He or she will likely recommend an inhaler you can use during workouts.

    Doing The Best Types Of Exercise For Asthma

    Before Beginning An Exercise Program A Person Should ...
  • 1Walk. Walking is a great exercise for a large variety of people – including those with asthma. It’s a low intensity activity that keeps your heart rate lower and doesn’t cause deep or labored breathing.
  • One study in particular showed that adults who walked three times a week showed improved fitness levels and had better control over their asthma after 12 weeks.
  • Health and asthma professionals recommend doing a moderate to brisk walk a few times per week. However, you’ll need to gauge how well you do with a moderate walk before advancing to more brisk or face paced walk.
  • Always warm-up before your walk and make sure to have your emergency inhaler handy just in case you need it. Aim for a 2030 minute walk to start with if you’re able. Work yourself up to longer times or a faster pace overtime.
  • 2Go for a swim. You may think that swimming is a harder exercise to do aerobically however, swimming is actually a recommended cardio activity for those suffering with asthma. Check to see if there’s a pool in your area that you can use.
  • The reason that swimming is frequently recommended for asthmatics is because you’re breathing in air that is highly humidified and warm. This is helps your lungs function better.
  • Try any type of water exercise that you have available. You can try water yoga, water aerobics, water walking or just swimming laps.
  • Short bursts of moderate-intensity activities should be OK and are tolerated by most people with asthma.XResearch source
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    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.

    They can check your inhaler technique and update your asthma action plan. They may test your peak flow or suggest different asthma medicines.

    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.

    Barriers/limitations To Physical Activities

    There are many barriers that could limit the participation of a chronic respiratory condition patient in exercises.

    Children and adolescents with asthma may experience frustration, embarrassment and low self-confidence because of their disease-related limitations. They may also withdraw from PA because of their parents fear and protectiveness. A prospective observational study suggests levels of physical activity in the elderly patients with pneumonia did not improve despite a gradual recovery in their condition. This could be because of patients falling, management of medical instruments, , a lack of staff and walking aids, and a lack of understanding about the importance of walking for the patients.

    The fear of breathlessness due to cardiovascular disease, peripheral vascular disease, lung cancer, diabetes, dyslipidemia, hypertension, osteoporosis, and psychological disorders inhibits many patients from taking part in PA. Corticosteroid use, overuse of bronchodilators, and interactions with other medications can further complicate management of PA programs in these patients. Other concerns during both rest and exercise include pulmonary hypertension, gas-trapping, dynamic hyperinflation, poor gas exchange, and increased respiratory pressure associated with destruction of lung parenchyma and increased airway resistance.

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    How To Stay Active Despite Asthma

    Staying active is an essential part of maintaining your physical and mental health. It may seem as though asthma is a good reason to avoid or stop exercising. If you suffer from shortness of breath, wheezing, or other disruptive symptoms, you might be reluctant to get back into a fitness routine. However, exercise for asthma can help you improve your heart and lung function while enhancing the overall quality of your life.

    At Internal Medicine and Pediatric Clinic in New Albany, MS, we offer expert care and diagnostics tests to help you receive the most effective treatment. Our team specializes in controlling your symptoms, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of a proper exercise program.

    Why Exercise Can Be A Trigger

    COPD My Daily Exercise Program (for healthier living)

    Breathing through the nose warms up the air we breathe in. But when we exercise, particularly exercise that is more strenuous like running, we usually breathe through the mouth instead of the nose. This means were breathing in air thats colder and drier than normal.

    If you have asthma, breathing in this cold, dry air causes your airways to tighten and get narrower. This can trigger your asthma symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and breathlessness.

    You may come across other triggers when you exercise too, like pollution or pollen if you exercise outside, or dust if you exercise indoors. Chlorine in swimming pools can also trigger symptoms for some people.

    Youre more likely to get asthma symptoms when you exercise if:

    • you dont take your preventer inhaler every day as prescribed
    • your airways are already tight and inflamed because of allergies or other triggers like cigarette smoke

    Exercise-induced asthma

    Rarely, someone not diagnosed with asthma might get asthma-like symptoms from exercising.

    This is often called exercise-induced asthma, but a better term is exercise-induced bronchoconstriction because it is not caused by having asthma. However, its important to be assessed for asthma if you have symptoms of EIB.

    Bronchoconstriction is when the airways get tighter and narrower as a result of strenuous exercise, particularly if someone is also breathing in cold air.

    Find out more about exercise-induced asthma/bronchoconstriction.

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    Stretching Warming Up And Cooling Down

    As the name suggests, the warm-up is designed to increase your bodys internal temperature and warm your muscles to prevent muscle strains and joint sprains. The best way is to start off at a leisurely pace, and then pick up speed. Usually a 5 to 10-minute warm-up is all you’ll need, but this will vary from person to person and if the weather is cold.

    Start with light aerobic exercise such as walking, cycling or rowing you can do these easily using the exercise machines at the gym, but if you are at home, here is another five-minute warm-up suggestion and a few dynamic stretches.

    Dynamic stretching involves slow, repetitive, controlled movements through the full range of motion, performing movements you will be using in your chosen physical activity. You can start slower, and with a smaller range of motion, and increase speed and range of motion gradually.

    For the last five minutes of your exercise, slow down and allow your body to cool down gradually, letting your heart rate and breathing rate come back to normal.

    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.
    • Follow your Asthma Action Plan.

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