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Asthma & Allergy Articles

Exercise-induced Asthma

Exercise-induced asthma is elicited by vigorous exercises as the name suggests. Exercise-induced asthma is caused due to inhalation of cold and dry air through mouth while working out which changes the temperature and humidity of the muscle bands that are too sensitive and act by contracting. This in turn, results in narrowing of the air passage. The higher Ozone can also be a reason for triggering the asthmatic attacks for the long runners who are already having exercise-induced asthma. 

The symptoms of the exercise-induced asthma are generally noticed 10 to 20 minutes prior to the start of the exercise or 10 to 15 minutes after the exercise has ended. The symptoms are same as the symptoms of classic asthma, such as –

  •  Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath when exercising
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Unusual fatigue while exercising

Diagnosis of Exercise-induced asthma is done by performing different tests like-

Lung(pulmonary) function test which includes:

  • Spirometry – This is nothing but 15 minutes’ test in which you will have to take deep breaths and forcefully exhale into the hose which is connected to a machine called spirometer.
  • Peak flow measurement – How fast a person can force out air from the lungs is measured in a small device known as peak flow measurement.

Exercise challenge test –  This test can be taken with the help offree run or activities that induces the asthmatic attack.

Challenge test – A test with aerosol containing small amount of a chemical (mannitol) that triggers the asthma. This test is done after the lung function test has already been performed onthe affected person.

Eucapnic voluntary hyperpnea challenge

The treatment that is needed in prior or to prevent the symptoms of exercise-induced asthma are as follows-

  • Oral inhalers and bronchodilators – use prior to exercise to prevent the asthmatic attacks
  • Short-acting beta -2 agonist (eg. albuterol)– prevent contracting of airways while exercise
  • Inhale ipratropium – helps to relax airways while exercising
  • Inhale corticosteroids like BeclomethasoneDipropionateor BudesonidePulmicort
  • Inhaled ling acting beta -2 agonist with corticosteroids like Advair to prevent the asthmatic attack
  • Tiotropium bromide (Spiriva Respimat) – use along with the medication to prevent the exercise-induced asthma

It is not that if a person is having exercise-induced asthma, he or she cannot do exercise in their entire lifetimes. Many Olympiadsor athletes compete with asthma. It’s just that they need to follow some preventive stepsto maintain their normal physical activities. The steps are as follows –

  • Always use pre-exercise inhalers before beginning of exercise
  • Warm up exercise should be performed before the performances
  • Avoid exercise when there is high pollution level
  • Avoid exercises when affected by viral infection
  • Do not overdo the exercises
  • Most importantly, restrict the exercise when sick

The person affected by exercise-induced asthma can be better in some sports which claims short involvement such as volleyball, gymnastics, baseball, walking, wrestling and swimming. These forms of exercises are very suitable for peoplehaving exercise-induced asthma as it is performed in moist and warm environments.