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Nearly 13 percent of the US population suffers from exercise-induced asthma which is specifically known as exercise induced bronchospasm. It occurs in people who otherwise do not suffer from asthma and are not even affected by asthma triggers such as dust, pollen, or animal dander. However, athletes or non-athletes may all suffer from symptoms of asthma during exercise.
The cause of exercise-induced asthma may vary from individual to individual but it is usually due to the loss of water or heat in the lungs, as a person engages in exercise. This loss of water, heat, or both, occurs due to increased ventilation of air that is dry and cool.
People who suffer from exercise-induced asthma have sensitive airways that react instantly to any changes in the humidity and temperature, especially when breathing in colder, dryer air.
Symptoms of exercised induced bronchoconstriction may occur during exercise or after a few minutes and may continue for 30 minutes or more if not treated. These symptoms include:
Wheezing and coughing
Tightness of chest or pain
Feeling fatigued during exercise
Feeling a shortness of breath
Poor athletic performance
Prevention and Treatment
If you want to prevent asthma from spoiling your exercise routine, here are some tips to follow:
Warming up before the exercise is important and helps prevent the symptoms
If you are exercising in a chilly area, it’s better to take good precautions against the cold by covering your mouth and nose so that you inhale warm air.
Exercise in a well ventilated area with warm air
Usually, people who suffer from this kind of asthma, take an inhaler that contains albuterol. It is taken 15 minutes before the exercise and can help you for the next 4-6 hours.
One of the greatest stimuli for exercise-induced bronchospasm is dry and cold air, so the condition is usually associated with people who play sports in cold areas, such as skiers. Other sports, which include long periods of running or exertions, such as soccer, hockey, basketball, or field hockey, are more likely to suffer from such asthma. Other sports that are less likely to cause you trouble include hiking, baseball, wrestling, golf, football, leisure biking, gymnastics or walking.
It can sometimes become difficult to differentiate between chronic asthma and exercise induced asthma. So if the symptoms remain even after taking your inhaler, it might be a sign of chronic asthma. Sometimes, an underlying inflammation that goes undetected results in asthma too. It’s thus, important to get it checked. Asthma can be controlled and it gives you no excuse to skip exercise. For a thorough checkup, contact us today at 212-319-5282 to book your appointment with a NYC allergist.