How to Manage Exercise-Induced Asthma

Woman running in the fallYou’re only five minutes into your run and all of a sudden you realize you’re having a really difficult time breathing.  This might be normal if only you were much further into your cardio workout, but you’re not — you literally just started.  Then, the coughing and wheezing starts and you have no choice but to cut the workout short. Could you possibly have asthma?

What is Exercise-Induced Asthma?

Exercise-induced asthma, also known as exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB), affects about 300 million people worldwide, according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology.

Oftentimes, this type of asthma is not diagnosed until well into adulthood, which is why you may not link your difficulty breathing while working out immediately with EIB.

Exercise-induced asthma occurs when your airway tubes constrict during strenuous activity and cause the following symptoms:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Tightening of the chest
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
What Triggers Episodes?

The main culprits for EIB episodes are cold temperatures and dry air, which explains why you aren’t affected by its asthma symptoms on a regular basis.

The American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology explains the cause of EIB best:

Normally, you probably breathe through your nose, and your nose acts as a humidifier for the air by warming it before it reaches your airways. However, once you begin working out, you start breathing through your mouth which can’t humidify the air. This process of mouth breathing sends cold, dry air straight to your lungs, causing asthma-like symptoms.

Will I Ever Be Able to Exercise Again?

If you’re an individual who loves to be active, EIB can be a devastating diagnosis. You might think exercise is out of the question, but that’s not true!

In most cases, you can easily learn to manage your symptoms by creating a fitness routine that works for you. Try some of the following tips for reducing asthma symptoms while working out:

  • Make warm ups and cool downs a part of your workout routine to help ease into activity and lessen symptoms.
  • Avoid working during times you are feeling under the weather, as this could intensify an EIB episode.
  • If you like to exercise outdoors, focus on utilizing the warm summer months for outdoor activity and think about joining a gym or using in-home equipment for working out during the colder months, when the air is dry and the temperature is low.

According to the Mayo Clinic, if you are diagnosed with EIB, practicing the above tips and acquiring a common asthma medication prescription from your doctor should allow you to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.

Diagnosing EIB

If you are experiencing asthma symptoms during strenuous activity and you believe it could be exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, it’s imperative you receive a proper diagnosis so that a treatment plan can be put in place.

Take our free online Asthma Assessment Test today!

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